The United States troop force in Afghanistan which numbers about 14,000 has been quietly reduced by 2,000 making the new count of the troops about 12,000 according to the top American commander, Gen. Austin Scott Miller in Afghanistan,
The U.S. troop force was mobilised to the Afghanistan area to fight terrorist groups including al-Qaeda while they also advise, assist and trains the Afghan forces fighting the Taliban insurgents.
“Unbeknownst to the public as part of our optimization, over the last year… we have reduced our authorised strength by 2,000 here,” Miller told a joint news conference with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Kabul.
“So, there is a constant look as a military commander to optimize the force here, and what it’s based on is you understand the risks to the force, risks to the mission, and look at it in terms of capabilities,” Gen Miller said. He was responding to comments Esper made a day earlier that even if the troop size is eventually reduced down to 8,600, it will not undermine the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
The U.S. defence secretary arrived in the Afghan capital on an unannounced visit Sunday and held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and met with U.S. service members, according to VOA report.
Esper on Monday dismissed concerns that Washington could be preparing to stage an abrupt pullout from Afghanistan, as many see the U.S. military doing in northeastern Syria.
“We have a long-standing commitment to our Afghan partners. We have invested billions upon billions of dollars. Both the Afghan people and the American people have sacrificed treasure and the lives of their soldiers,” Esper noted.
A “virulent terrorist “ threat is still facing the country, he said.
“So, all these things I think should reassure our Afghan allies and others that they should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria and contrast that with Afghanistan,” Esper stressed.