Sun, 07 Mar 2021

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Pentagon on Friday confirmed that U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq had reduced to 2,500 respectively.

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said in a statement that the drawdown in Afghanistan brought U.S. forces in the country to their lowest levels since the war began.

"Moving forward, while the Department continues with planning capable of further reducing U.S. troop levels to zero by May of 2021, any such future drawdowns remain conditions-based," he added.

In a separate statement, Miller confirmed U.S. force levels in Iraq also dropped to 2,500, saying that the reduction reflected" the increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces."

The forces drawdown plans in Afghanistan and Iraq were announced by Miller in November, on orders from President Donald Trump.

U.S. media questioned that the rapid drawdown in Afghanistan might violate a measure in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes Congress to ban the funding for further force reductions in the country without a detailed report from the Pentagon.

The war in Afghanistan, which has caused about 2,400 U.S. military deaths, is the longest one in U.S. history. Trump has long sought a full withdrawal from the country, but some of his senior aides from the military and the Pentagon had suggested a more cautious approach.

The United States and Afghan Taliban signed an agreement in late February 2020, which called for a full withdrawal of the U.S. military forces from Afghanistan by May 2021 if the Taliban meets the conditions of the deal, including severing ties with terrorist groups.

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