Trump administration to announce troop drawdown from Afghanistan

U.S. & World

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Trump is said to be preparing to announce a long-awaited drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

A senior administration official told CNN the announcement could come as early as next week, but the official said the exact timing remains in flux and would involve about four thousand troops.

Trump has previously indicated that he intended to withdraw several thousand troops from Afghanistan,

Currently between 12-13,000 U.S. troops are serving in the 18-year war.

The troop drawdown announcement comes as the U.S. has restarted peace talks with the Taliban.

Trump indicated that the Taliban would now be willing to agree to a ceasefire.

That public pronouncement caught Taliban leaders off guard.

The drawdown could be seen as a unilateral concession to the Taliban.

Defense officials have told CNN that the smaller U.S. military presence will be largely focused on counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda and isis.

The U.S. military’s ability to train and advise local Afghan forces could be reduced considerably

Trump has been critical of the U.S. war in Afghanistan for several years but reluctantly agreed to increase the number of troops there as part of a surge strategy he unveiled in 2017.

But since then, Trump has grown frustrated with the slow pace of progress and the sputtering diplomatic engagement with the Taliban.

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