American Troops in Afghanistan now down to 2,500 lowest since 2001
The Pentagon said on Friday that the number of US forces in Afghanistan has dropped to 2,500, the lowest level of US forces there since 2001.
In November, President Donald Trump's administration said it would reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January, stalling before threatening to withdraw completely from America's longest war in the wake of fierce opposition. From allies at home and abroad.
“Moving forward, while the Department continues with planning capable of further reducing U.S. troop levels to zero by May of 2021, any such future drawdowns remain conditions-based,” acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller said in a statement on reaching 2,500 troops.
Pentagon spokesman Major Rob Lodwick said on Friday that President Trump had signed an exemption allowing for troop cuts, though that apparently happened when the measure had already been completed.
“Convention dictates that reducing troop levels, associated equipment and adjusting associated force protection requirements across a country-wide combat zone is not something that can be paused overnight without increasing risk to the force and core mission goals,” Major Rob Lodwick said.
President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office next Wednesday, has given little clues as to what his plans for Afghanistan are. However, one option could be to leave a small counterterrorism force in Afganistan.
15 Jan 2021