US to have less than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by November

23 September 2020 (Last Updated September 23rd, 2020 14:32)

The US expects that its deployment in Afghanistan will drop to less than 5,000 troops by the end of this November.

US to have less than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by November
Afghan soldiers accompanied by soldiers assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division, walk off a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. Credit: Army Master Sgt Alejandro Licea.

The US expects that its deployment in Afghanistan will drop to less than 5,000 troops by the end of this November.

The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs (IPSA) David F Helvey said that the military presence will be trimmed as US President Donald Trump decided that the conditions in Afghanistan are conducive for the drawdown.

Helvey, who is now performing the duties of assistant secretary of defence for IPSA, said this during testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, national security subcommittee.

The US has been gradually withdrawing troops from the war-torn country following an agreement with the Taliban earlier this year.

Since late February, the US has reduced forces to 8,600.

However, as Helvey said, US troops present in Afghanistan continue to maintain the ability to carry out the core aspects of its existing missions in the country.

This includes the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission that involves training the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Alongside, the US forces also conduct counterterrorism missions with partners in the country.

The US is expected to completely withdraw from Afghanistan by May next year. However, this is contingent on other conditions as stated in an agreement with the Taliban.

Helvey said: “As [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] said in Doha, the Taliban must uphold their counterterrorism guarantees to the US.

“We also expect the Taliban to meaningfully participate in Afghan peace negotiations, and to do their part in preventing outside actors from negatively impacting the peace process.”

Earlier this month, the US announced that it will withdraw more than one-third of its forces from Iraq.