US begins military pullout from two Afghanistan bases – US official

US begins military pullout from two Afghanistan bases - US official

US troops have started to leave Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the US-Taliban agreement, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan announced on Monday, amid political chaos in Kabul that threatens the deal.

The United States is keen to end its longest-ever conflict, and under the terms of a deal signed in Doha last month has said all foreign forces will quit Afghanistan within 14 months — provided the Taliban stick to their security commitments.

Under the accord, the US is initially supposed to cut its troop presence from about 12,000 currently to 8,600 by mid-July, and close five of its roughly 20 bases across the country.

READ MORE: Spotlight returns to Iran’s nuclear programme

Troops have started leaving one base in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province in the south, and another base in Herat in the east, a US official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

Even with the drawdown, US forces retain “all the military means and authorities to accomplish our objectives”, Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan, said Monday, referring to American counterterrorism operations and support for Afghan forces.

Helmand, which along with neighbouring Kandahar province is considered a Taliban stronghold, is where US and British forces fought some of the bloodiest campaigns of the 18-year war.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for Helmand’s governor, told AFP that “20 to 30” foreigners had left Lashkar Gah since the weekend.

The initial drawdown comes as the Taliban, which see themselves as having achieved “victory” over America, test the Pentagon’s resolve to protect local partners by conducting dozens of low-level attacks against Afghan forces. The US has only responded to a few of these attacks.

Under the terms of the withdrawal deal, the Taliban are supposed to tackle jihadists such as the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda, as well as hold talks with the Afghan government that were due to start Tuesday.

But Kabul is in disarray and appears unable to present a unified front to negotiate with the Taliban.

On Monday, President Ashraf Ghani was inaugurated for a second term following an election that was marred by fraud allegations while his rival, former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, also declared himself winner and swore himself in as premier in a parallel ceremony.

Peace talks were supposed to start Tuesday but have been delayed by a dispute over the release of Taliban prisoners — something the insurgents have demanded as a prerequisite ahead of negotiations, but which Ghani has so far refused to do.

Ghani on Tuesday was expected to announce a decree on the issue and reveal details of the negotiating team.

Washington has denounced Abdullah’s self-inauguration, urging unity in Kabul ahead of negotiations with the Taliban.

“We strongly oppose any action to establish a parallel government, and any use of force to resolve political differences,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, without explicitly naming Abdullah.

“Prioritising an inclusive government and unified Afghanistan is paramount for the future of the country and particularly for the cause of peace,” he added.

ALSO READ: Lithuania seeks to heal Soviet trauma after 30 years of freedom


EU reopens borders to outside visitors as virus surges in US
Protest rocks Edo over Obaseki's alleged attempt to obtain N20bn loan
Winners Chapel defends itself, explains why it held fully-packed services on Sunday despite ban on l...
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to Induct New Helicopters on Thursday
Liberia citizens express anger, displeasure over economy as president Weah marks two years in office
Gov. Sule approves establishment of mobile court to handle rape cases
Egypt’s Population Surpassed 100 Million in Spite Measures to Curtail it
The Emir Of Kano Reveals The Most Important Decision Taken By President Buhari
Breaking: Pandemonium as herdsmen invade UniAbuja
Americans are asked to wear masks over virus breathing spread fears
Here's Why Mitt Romney Thinks Donald Trump Will Win Reelection
A 74-Year-Old Indian Woman Just Gave Birth to Twins Girls
Man Married For 12 Years Discovers That 2 Out Of 3 Kids Are Not His Own
Breaking: Gunmen Kidnap PDP Chieftain In Benue State
Sanusi identifies nepotism as the worst form of corruption in Nigeria
New Flynn Notes: ‘FBI Leadership’ Decided Not to Provide Russian Call Transcripts to Flynn in Interv...
An Australian cruise ship facing growing coronavirus crisis off Uruguay
Catholic nuns attacked in Benue state by unknown gunmen
Israel set to swear in Netanyahu-Gantz unity government
China crackdown sparks Western offers of asylum for Hong Kongers
Senegal to ease coronavirus curfew after angry protests
Hundreds of Tunisians protest coronavirus lockdown
Fire Outbreak In Balogun Market Lagos Destroys Many Properties (Watch Video)
Six coronavirus patients test negative in Lagos State
Brazilian Supreme Court justice bans raids in Rio favelas during pandemic
US President demands GM, Ford produce ventilators 'immediately'
Ex-minister of finace Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gets new IMF appointment
Pregnant woman shot dead in Lagos
All hell would break loose if I didn’t follow Amber’s rules, Johnny Depp claims
Bishop David Oyedepo Slams Buhari's Government, Declares Hate Speech Bill “dead”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: