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U.S. force levels in Afghanistan fall to lowest figure since 2001

The Defense Department continues to withdraw American forces from the region

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A U.S. Marine in Helmand, Afghanistan
A U.S. Marine in Helmand, Afghanistan
(Sgt. Sean J. Berry / U.S. Marine Corps)
Updated: January 15, 2021 - 9:39am

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The United States has officially withdrawn all but 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan, bringing down the number in that country to the lowest number since 2001, says acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

At the direction of President Trump, the Defense Department has dramatically reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan in an effort to end close to twenty years of war in thee region. 

The 2,500 remaining troops will, Miller said, give commanders "what they need to keep America, our people and our interests safe."

"Working alongside our NATO allies and partners, the United States will continue to execute both our counterterrorism mission and the train, advise and assist mission in support of Afghan Security Forces working to secure peace in their country," he also said, in a statement. 

In early 2020, the two countries signed onto the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration in an effort to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan. 

The U.S., at the same time, is trying to help Afghanistan and the Taliban, a political and military group, reach a peace agreement.

The Defense Department is also moving ahead with "planning capable of further reducing U.S. troop levels to zero by May of 2021," though "any such future drawdowns remain conditions-based," reads the statement, emphasizing the necessity of continued cooperation on the sides of all parties.

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