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International

Trump orders major reduction in US troop levels in Afghanistan - Reports

Agency News

Washington, Dec 21 : US President Donald Trump has ordered a significant reduction of US troops in Afghanistan with some 7,000 expected to return home in coming weeks, media reported.
The first reduction, which accounts for half of the 14,000 US troops stationed in Afghanistan, could mark the start to the end of American involvement in the 17-year war, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday citing unnamed officials. The full drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan could take at least many months, the report added.
Earlier on Thursday, Mattis in a resignation letter said he was stepping down at the end of February citing the fact that Trump needed to find a defense chief whose views were more aligned with his own. Mattis’s resignation came a day after the White House said the United States was withdrawing troops from Syria. The unexpected move to exit Syria has been widely criticized by many US lawmakers who argued the action would undermine America's security and give away the region to Russia, Iran, and Syria.

On October 20, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections for the first time since 2010. In July, the Independent Election Committee set April 20, 2019, as the date for the country's presidential election. Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of various terrorist and radical groups. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, supported by a US-led coalition, are conducting joint offensive operations to combat terrorism across the country. UNI