U.S. and NATO officials have said that an agreement was reached in February between Washington and the Taliban, agreeing to reduce the number of U.S. troops in the country, and the number of troops in Afghanistan has fallen to 8,600.
A key provision of the February 29 agreement between the Taliban and the United States-the Afghan government did not join the agreement-involves the United States ’commitment to reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan from approximately 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July, and if conditions permit, to May 2021 is zero.
Two senior sources in Kabul said that 8,600 goals are likely to be achieved in early June.
Two US officials who did not wish to be named said that the United States has nearly 8,600 soldiers and may reach this number in the next few days.
An official said: “Because of concerns about COVID-19, we are moving in the direction of planned downsizing faster than expected.”
Another U.S. official said that the United States has concentrated on quickly removing unnecessary personnel and those at high risk who are believed to be infected with the virus.
Due to the sensitivity of the matter, all four sources requested not to be disclosed.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump had “more than 7,000 soldiers” in Afghanistan, but officials clarified that the number was slightly over 8,600.
Trump reiterated his desire to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but he added that he did not set a target date because of speculation that he might end the longest war in the United States as part of his re-election.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan with iron fist from 1996 to 2001, trying to overthrow the Western-backed Kabul government. They think that the Kabul government is American.