US American soldiers on foot patrol in Afghanistan 221218 CREDIT US ARMY
USA

US On Track To Withdraw Thousands Of Troops From Afghanistan

An agreement, signed in February, confirmed the number of American personnel would drop to 8,600 from about 13,000 by mid-July.

US American soldiers on foot patrol in Afghanistan 221218 CREDIT US ARMY

The United States is on track to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan, despite continuing violence in the country.

The Taliban and the Afghan government have also failed to begin peace talks.

An agreement, signed in February, confirmed a plan to reduce the number of American personnel from around 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July.

An initial withdrawal of hundreds of US military service members began in March.

However, the following month, the Taliban warned the peace deal with America was nearing a breaking point, accusing the US of carrying out drone attacks on civilians

The group also criticised the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners as promised in the agreement.

US officials are sticking to their promise to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan by more than 4,000, with all American and allied forces set to have left the country completely by Spring 2021, ending America’s longest war.

The withdrawal of all remaining forces, however, depends on the Taliban meeting certain counter-terrorism conditions, assessed by the US.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, meanwhile, says his government is going back on the offensive against the Taliban after a series of devastating attacks on civilians.

US flag flying over mission support site in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan
A US flag flies over a mission support site in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province (Picture: US Air Force).

The conflict in Afghanistan has continued for more than 18 years, and at one point saw 100,000 troops on the ground.

There are currently around 1,000 British Army troops based in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission in the country. 

Britain ended its combat role in Afghanistan in 2014, but personnel remain deployed to the country in non-combat capacities.

It has proven to be a difficult war for America, but one that Donald Trump vowed he would end during his presidential campaign.

In 2017 he sanctioned a troop surge at the request of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. 

Cover image: US Army.