US to cut troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq

TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (MNA) – United States President Donald Trump will sharply reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 before he leaves office, the Pentagon has announced.

The Pentagon also outlined a modest withdrawal of US forces in Iraq that will reduce troop levels from 3,000 to 2,500, Aljazeera reported.

“I am formally announcing that we will implement President Trump’s orders to continue our repositioning of forces” from Afghanistan and Iraq, the president’s newly appointed acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller told reporters at the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

He further asserted that Trump’s decision “is based on continuous engagement with his national security Cabinet for the past several months, including ongoing discussions with me and my colleagues across the United States government.”

The move comes on the heels of Trump's ouster of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, which led to a flurry of resignations at the Pentagon, yielding gaps now filled by Trump’s loyalists.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters at the White House that the Trump campaign has kept its promise of returning US troops back home.

“Four years ago, President Trump ran on a promise to put a stop to America’s endless wars,” O’Brien said. “President Trump is keeping that promise to the American people.”

He further emphasized that this has been the administration’s policy from the get-go.

“By May, it is President Trump's hope that they will all come home safely and in their entirety,” O’Brien said. “I want to reiterate that this policy is not new. This has been the president’s policy since he took office.”

In an agreement reached between the US and the Taliban in February, the Trump administration promised to pull out all its troops by mid-2021 in return for the Taliban to stop their attacks on US-led occupation foreign forces in Afghanistan.

MR/PR

News Code 166031

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