US reduces troops in Afghanistan to agreed level of around 8,600: General
The United States has reduced its military presence in Afghanistan to the level negotiated with the Taliban, around 8,600 troops, the top US commander for the region said Thursday.
“What I would tell you now is we have met our part of the agreement,” General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, told a panel discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
“We agreed to go to the mid-8,000 range within 135 days,” McKenzie said. “We’re at that number now.”
Under the February deal reached with the Taliban, the United States agreed to reduce its forces in Afghanistan from 12,000 troops to 8,600 by mid-July.
US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan: Official
US will withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 14 months if conditions met
US will need forces in Afghanistan until no insurgency left, says top General
The agreement calls for all US and foreign troops to quit Afghanistan by mid-2021, nearly 20 years after Washington invaded the country following the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda on New York and Washington.
McKenzie stressed that while the goal of a complete withdrawal by May 2021 was “aspirational,” it was also conditional.
It is a “conditions-based approach,” the general said, and “conditions would have to be met that satisfy us -- that attacks against our homeland are not going to be generated from Afghanistan.”
Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.
“We all know already that (the Taliban) are no friends of ISIS,” McKenzie said of ISIS.
“What we need to see is what they’re going to do against al-Qaeda,” he said of the group responsible for 9/11. “And we need to see that in deeds and not words.”
“And so we’re very focused on what the Taliban is doing, how they’re participating in these negotiations as we go forward,” he said. “The jury is still very much out.”
President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in November, has said repeatedly that he wants US troops out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.
Afghanistan detects new polio cases as coronavirus halts immunization programsAfghanistan has detected polio in areas previously declared free of the life-threatening disease after immunization programs were paused due to the ... World News
Coronavirus: Dubai’s Emirates to fly to Kabul, Afghanistan, total destinations to 30Dubai’s Emirates airline will start flights to Kabul, Afghanistan from June 25, bringing the total number of destinations offered by the airline to 30 ... Coronavirus