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US begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan

The US has started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after signing a historic peace agreement with the Taliban.

The US agreed to withdraw its troops from about 12,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the agreement.

US officials signed the peace agreement with Taliban representatives on February 29, aiming to bring an end to the 19 year conflict.

In a statement, Col Leggett said that despite the reduction in troops, the US retains “all the military means and authorities to accomplish our objectives.”

Agreement details

      -    The US and NATO allies are expected to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan within 14 months and Trump promises that around 5,000 US troops will have left the country by May, this year if ‘conditions’ are met.  

      -    Taliban engages in intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides by March 10, 2020 to ensure a “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire

      -    Taliban guarantees that "Afghan soil will not be used to threaten the security of the US or its allies" including the operation of Al-Qaeda.

Until now, Taliban has declined talks with the Afghan government, insisting they are a ‘puppet regime’. However, the proposed discussions with the Afghan sides is expected to sanction the exchange of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners on the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations.

By May 29, the US is also expected to remove Taliban members from the sanctions list by working together with the UN Security Council.