U.S. to withdraw 1,000 more troops from Afghanistan

February 17, 2019

TEHRAN - United States is reportedly mulling the withdrawal of 1,000 more troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander of U.S. forces in the country.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. military's Central Command, was quoted saying on Friday that the decision to reduce some of the 14,000 American forces in Afghanistan was not linked to the peace process.

Instead, it was part of an effort by General Scott Miller, who took over as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in September last year, to make “better use of U.S. resources.”

“This is something that he started as he got into the position here and was looking at how we [can] be as efficient and as effective as we can be on the ground,” Votel said in an interview during a trip to Oman.

Late last year, U.S. President Donald Trump had announced withdrawal of 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, a decision that showed the fatigue and failure of U.S. officials with the protracted war in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in recent months without any breakthrough. Taliban have demanded the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Taliban negotiators are expected to meet the U.S. officials on February 18 in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, assuaging the concerns of Afghan officials regarding the withdrawal of U.S. forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Afghanistan envoy Zamir Kabulov has said it won’t create a power vacuum in the war-ravaged country.

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