Hardly a week has passed since the conditional peace treaty between the U.S. and the Taliban, and American troops are already leaving the country.
Despite reports of a recent Taliban attack on Afghan government forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper gave the order to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
“On the first question, the agreement says that we would reduce down to 8,600 within 135 days,” Esper said in response to a reporter's question about troop drawdowns. “And that drawdown would begin in the first 10 days. But I -- you know, my instruction to the commander was let's get moving; let's show our full faith and effort to do that. As you know, I've said on many occasions that I'm comfortable we can still conduct all the missions we need to conduct at 8,600.”
Last week, the US and Taliban signed a historic peace deal, in which the US agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan within 14 months. “We think we’ll be successful in the end,” President Trump told reporters at the White House after the deal was signed. “It's time after all these years to bring our people back home.”
Honored to participate in the joint declaration ceremony in Afghanistan. This will pave the way for intra-Afghan negotiations in pursuit of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The U.S. approach to this remains conditions-based. #AfghanPeaceProcess pic.twitter.com/xnX0BX95Xr— Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) March 3, 2020
The U.S. and our @NATO allies and partners, are committed to our security relationship with #Afghanistan. The U.S. military and its allies and partners, set the conditions for a stable, secure and unified Afghanistan to become a reality, and I am proud of their accomplishments. pic.twitter.com/79XO8di8nM— Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper (@EsperDoD) March 3, 2020