US President Trump is reportedly planning to withdraw 4,000 troops from Afghanistan as part of a pledge he made this summer to end American involvement in conflict in the area.
Three current and former United States officials told NBC News the president is planning to announce the immediate withdrawal that will see a massive reduction in the current number of troops in the region, which are now between 12,000 and 13,000. The news could come as early as next week and follows renewed peace talks with the Taliban.
“We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a determination from there as to what happens,” Trump said in August. “We’re bringing it down.”
Two U.S. officials told NBC News that the reduction in would include a combination of troops re-deploying early and others not being replaced when they rotate out of the position.
Officials also described the move as a staggered withdrawal that would occur over a few months.
The administration’s announcement comes just days after Zalmay Khalilzad, the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, rejoined diplomatic talks with the Taliban after the group broke down in September.
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Khalilzad, who’s position entails securing peaceful resolutions to conflicts in Afghanistan, said on Thursday that the U.S. was ‘taking a brief pause’ in peace talks after an attack on Wednesday killed two Afghan civilians and wounded 70 others.