The troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has begun the U.S. military said Tuesday, taking a step forward on its peace deal with the Taliban while also praising Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s promise to start releasing Taliban prisoners after he had delayed for over a week.
The U.S.-Taliban deal signed February 29 was touted as Washington’s effort to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan. Currently the U.S. has about 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan — 8,000 of whom are involved in training and advising Afghanistan’s National Security Forces, while about 5,000 are involved in anti-terror operations and militarily supporting the Afghan army when they are requested.
U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan Sonny Leggett said in a statement Tuesday the military had begun its “conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement Monday saying, “We also welcome President Ghani’s announcement that he will issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release.”
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