US finalizing plan to pull 4,000 troops from Afghanistan: Report

Afghan security force

Kabul/Washington, (Asian independent) The US is close to finalizing a decision to withdraw more than 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as per the Washington-Taliban deal, a media report said on Saturday.

Almost a week ago, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, said Washington has reduced its troop level to 8,600 in Afghanistan, fulfilling the first phase of the planned withdrawal specified in the the deal the country signed with the Taliban in Doha on February 29.

TOLO News cited a CNN report as saying that the new move would reduce the number of troops from 8,600 to 4,500 and would be the lowest number since the very earliest days of the war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001.

The report came a day after a meeting between US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

“We will also follow up on our discussion on Afghanistan. NATO will continue to adjust our presence in support of the peace process,” TOLO News quoted Stoltenberg as saying on Friday.

“This will be done in close coordination with Allies and partners.”

The US has committed to withdrawing all of its forces from Afghanistan by next April under the agreement it signed with the Taliban.

But it was when the withdrawal would take place.