In a big surprise, America silently withdraw military troops from Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - The top American commander in Afghanistan revealed Monday the size of U.S. troop force in the country has quietly been reduced by 2,000 over the last year, insisting remaining military personnel are still capable of reaching their stated objectives.
The revelation by Gen. Austin Scott Miller, means the number of residual U.S. force now stands at roughly 12,000 soldiers. They are tasked with fighting terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Islamic State, as well as training, advising and assisting Afghan forces battling Taliban insurgents.
“Unbeknownst to the public as part of our optimization, over the last year… we have reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here,” Miller told a joint news conference with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Kabul.
“So, there is a constant look as a military commander to optimize the force here, and what it’s based on is you understand the risks to the force, risks to the mission, and look at it in terms of capabilities,” Gen Miller said. He was responding to comments Esper made a day earlier that even if the troop size is eventually reduced down to 8,600, it will not undermine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
The U.S. defense secretary arrived in the Afghan capital on an unannounced visit Sunday and held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and met with U.S. service members.
Esper on Monday dismissed concerns that Washington could be preparing to stage an abrupt pull out from Afghanistan, as many see the U.S. military doing in northeastern Syria.