US Completes Troop-Level Drawdown In Afghanistan, Iraq

US Completes Troop-Level Drawdown In Afghanistan, Iraq”

In November, President Donald Trump's administration said it would sharply cut the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January, stopping short of a threatened full withdrawal from America's longest war after fierce opposition from allies at home and overseas.

USA media questioned that the rapid drawdown in Afghanistan might violate a measure in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes Congress to ban the funding for further force reductions in the country without a detailed report from the Pentagon.

"We have long anticipated that the force level required to support Iraq's fight against ISIS would decrease as Iraq's capability to manage the threat from ISIS improves".

The war in Afghanistan, which has caused about 2,400 USA military deaths, is the longest one in American history.

In a separate statement, Miller confirmed U.S. force levels in Iraq also dropped to 2,500, saying that the reduction reflected "the increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces".

In a statement, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed Friday that forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan had reached 2,500, in accordance with Trump's mandate. Officials have not provided regular updates on how many troops have departed since the announcement, but a senior DoD official who declined to be named said there were around 3,000 troops in the region as of Tuesday.

On the other hand, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commented over the USA troops drawdown, stating that the U.S. made it clear, "they would continue to provide their enablers to our Resolute Support Mission", but NATO's position in this regard has not changed.

A House Armed Services Committee aide speaking on background confirmed the Pentagon's continuing drawdown effort despite the legislation prohibiting it. "And also, the decision from Congress came very, very late".

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Stoltenberg said that 2021 will be a hard year for decisions on Afghanistan, adding, "There are many challenges, and many uncertainties, but of course, peace talks are the only path to peace, the only way forward to a peaceful negotiated solution".

The Pentagon has not yet fully explained how it squares its continued drawdown with the legal prohibition.

Under the agreement, foreign troops were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan within 14 months.

There is no public evidence that the Pentagon has met either of the requirements.

The force reduction shows USA support for the Afghan peace process that was negotiated with the Taliban.

A Pentagon spokesman, Army Major Rob Lodewick, on Friday said Trump had signed a waiver allowing for the troop reduction, though it appears to have happened when the move was already complete.

O'Hanlon said that a troop presence of 2,500 is "too small" for the current mission, calling Trump's decision "impulsive". It turned into something more ambitious but less well-defined and became far more costly in blood and treasure. During Biden's time as vice president, the USA pushed US troop totals in Afghanistan to 100,000 in a failed bid to compel the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. When Trump took office four years ago there were about 8,500 troops in the country, and he raised it to about 13,000 that summer.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a December 10, 2020, interview that it doesn't concern the group whether the troops in the region are reduced by January 15, only that the US makes good on the May deadline.

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