The Taliban on Saturday welcomed Washington’s announcement of a recent reduction in US forces in Afghanistan to 2,500, “a positive step forward,” according to the group’s spokesperson, as violence continues to ravage the country .
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“The withdrawal of other American troops from Afghanistan, announced by the United States yesterday, is a positive step forward and a pragmatic step,” Mohammad Naeem, an insurgent spokesman, wrote on Twitter.
“The implementation of the agreement signed between (the Taliban) and the United States is beneficial to both countries,” he insisted.
In February, President Donald Trump’s administration signed an agreement with the Taliban that endorses a complete withdrawal of American troops by May-2021 in exchange for security guarantees.
“We ensure that our side is committed to honoring the promises made in the agreement and wants the other side to do the same,” added Naeem.
With less than a week of Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House, Mr. Trump has reduced the US military presence in Afghanistan to its lowest since the September 11 attacks.
“Today, the American military personnel in Afghanistan amount to 2,500 soldiers,” Pentagon chief Christopher Miller said in a statement Friday.
The number of US troops in the country has varied over the years for the past 20 years, reaching as high as 100,000 in 2010. They were still 13,000 a year ago.
Mr. Trump has been promising since 2016 to put an end to “endless wars”, and US President-elect Joe Biden also wants to reduce operations on the Afghan ground, the longest American intervention in its history.
The US-Taliban agreement also led to the opening of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
These negotiations, which began in September, are progressing very slowly, and the two camps are now trying to agree on the agenda for the talks.
Violence has only increased across the country in recent months, however, especially in the capital, the scene of a series of targeted assassinations.
Two police officers were killed, and another wounded, Saturday in Kabul in the explosion of a roadside mine to target their vehicle.
On Friday evening, two Taliban members who infiltrated a base killed twelve members of a pro-government militia in the west of the country.