U.S. withdrawing troops from Afghanistan ahead of schedule

2020/05/1590670905.jpg
Read: 687     16:58     28 May 2020    

The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic, as the U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home.


The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan's long war following a historic, three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties.

The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended Tuesday night, leaving Afghans anxious about whether it would be extended, or when the war might come raging back.

Violence levels remained low even after the end of the ceasefire, but seven Afghan forces were killed Thursday in an attack officials blamed on the Taliban. This is the first deadly assault since a three-day ceasefire ended.

The militants attacked a checkpoint in Parwan, north of the capital, said Waheeda Shahkar, spokeswoman to the provincial governor.

"The Taliban have also suffered casualties," Shahkar added. District police chief Hussain Shah said Taliban fighters set fire to the checkpoint, killing five security force personnel. Two more were shot dead.

Under the deal the U.S. signed with the Taliban in February, the Pentagon was to bring troop levels down from about 12,000 to 8,600 by mid-July, before withdrawing all forces by May 2021.

But a senior U.S. defense official said the troop number was already at approximately 8,500, as commanders accelerate the withdrawal over fears of the coronavirus.

"The drawdown was accelerated due to COVID-19 precautions," the official told AFP on Wednesday, noting that the departure of anyone with health concerns or over a certain age was being prioritized.

Trump told reporters Tuesday the U.S. force level was "down to 7,000-some-odd soldiers right now."

The next day he returned to a frequent complaint that America should not be acting as a "police force" in Afghanistan.

"After 19 years, it is time for them to police their own country," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"Bring our soldiers back home but closely watch what is going on and strike with a thunder like never before, if necessary!"

CGTN



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News Line

U.S. withdrawing troops from Afghanistan ahead of schedule

2020/05/1590670905.jpg
Read: 688     16:58     28 May 2020    

The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic, as the U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home.


The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan's long war following a historic, three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties.

The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended Tuesday night, leaving Afghans anxious about whether it would be extended, or when the war might come raging back.

Violence levels remained low even after the end of the ceasefire, but seven Afghan forces were killed Thursday in an attack officials blamed on the Taliban. This is the first deadly assault since a three-day ceasefire ended.

The militants attacked a checkpoint in Parwan, north of the capital, said Waheeda Shahkar, spokeswoman to the provincial governor.

"The Taliban have also suffered casualties," Shahkar added. District police chief Hussain Shah said Taliban fighters set fire to the checkpoint, killing five security force personnel. Two more were shot dead.

Under the deal the U.S. signed with the Taliban in February, the Pentagon was to bring troop levels down from about 12,000 to 8,600 by mid-July, before withdrawing all forces by May 2021.

But a senior U.S. defense official said the troop number was already at approximately 8,500, as commanders accelerate the withdrawal over fears of the coronavirus.

"The drawdown was accelerated due to COVID-19 precautions," the official told AFP on Wednesday, noting that the departure of anyone with health concerns or over a certain age was being prioritized.

Trump told reporters Tuesday the U.S. force level was "down to 7,000-some-odd soldiers right now."

The next day he returned to a frequent complaint that America should not be acting as a "police force" in Afghanistan.

"After 19 years, it is time for them to police their own country," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"Bring our soldiers back home but closely watch what is going on and strike with a thunder like never before, if necessary!"

CGTN



Tags: