US begins withdrawing troops from Afghanistan
AKIPRESS.COM – The US has started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as part of a deal with the Taliban aimed at bringing peace to the country, BBC reports.
The US agreed to reduce its troops from about 12,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the agreement.
Drawing back troops was a condition of the historic peace deal signed by the US and the Taliban on 29 February.
The Afghan government did not take part in the deal, but is expected to hold talks with the Taliban.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani initially said he would not comply with an agreement to release Taliban prisoners as a pre-condition for direct talks with the militant group.
But reports say the president, who was inaugurated for a second term on Monday, will issue a decree for at least 1,000 Taliban prisoners to be released this week.
The peace deal appeared fragile last week after the US launched an air strike in response to Taliban fighters attacking Afghan forces in Helmand province.
The Taliban called for de-escalation and on Monday, Col Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, announced the first phase of the American withdrawal.