History in Making, American Troops starts withdrawal from Afghanistan from the longest ever war of its history
WASHINGTON — History in Making, American Troops starts withdrawal from Afghanistan from the longest ever war of its history.
American troops have begun leaving Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement link, the U.S. military confirmed Monday, amid political chaos in Kabul that threatens the deal, Associated Press has reported.
Army Col. Sonny Leggett, spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement that the U.S. is moving ahead with plans to cut the number of forces in the country from about 13,000 to 8,600 over the next four and a half months.
Another U.S. official said hundreds of troops have headed out of the country as previously planned, but they will not be replaced. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the movement ahead of a public announcement.
The pullout comes as Afghanistan’s rival leaders were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies link Monday, creating a complication for the United States as it figures out how to move forward on the deal and end the 18-year war.
The sharpening dispute between President Ashraf Ghani, who was declared the winner of last September’s election, and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who charged fraud in the vote along with the elections complaints commission, threatens to wreck the next key steps and even risks devolving into new violence.
The U.S. has not tied the withdrawal to political stability in Afghanistan or any specific outcome from the all-Afghan peace talks. Instead, it depends on the Taliban meeting its commitment to prevent “any group or individual, including al-Qaida, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”