US military withdrew 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over past year

22 October 2019 (Last Updated October 22nd, 2019 16:59)

The US military has pulled out around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the last year as part of efforts to optimise its presence in the country.

US military withdrew 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over past year
Marines board an MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in Afghanistan. Credits: DOD.

The US military has pulled out around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the last year as part of efforts to optimise its presence in the country.

At a news conference on 21 October, Resolute Support Mission commander general Austin Scott Miller stated that the US is constantly looking to optimise the force without affecting its training programme in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported that the US has been reducing the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan without reaching a peace deal with the Taliban.

According to the publication, the US troop strength in the country is now estimated to be between 12,000 and 13,000.

The Trump administration stalled peace talks with the extremist group last month following the death of a US soldier in a bomb attack in Kabul.

Talks were intended to secure a truce deal that would allow the US to draw down personnel in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Miller said: “As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we’re always looking to optimise the force. And unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimisation over the last year, at least 2,000, we’ve reduced our authorised strength by 2,000 here.

“So there’s a constant look as a military commander to optimise the force here, and what it’s based on is, understand the risks to the force, risks to the mission, and look at them in terms of capabilities.

“I’m confident that we have the right capabilities to reach our objectives, as well as continue to train, advise and assist throughout the country.”

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper revealed to the media earlier this week that the government is planning to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan to 8,600.

The US Military is also withdrawing troops from Syria for deployment to Iraq to help in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS).