U.S. forces start withdrawal from Afghanistan

2020-03-10 06:39:44 GMT2020-03-10 14:39:44(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KABUL, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Forces Afghanistan has begun withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, the coalition forces confirmed on Tuesday.

"In accordance with the U.S.-Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Joint Declaration and the U.S.-Taliban Agreement, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has begun its conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days," USFOR-A said in a statement.

On Feb. 29, the U.S.-Taliban deal was inked in Gulf state of Qatar while Kabul and Washington also issued a joint declaration on the same day in Kabul.

Under the agreements, the United States would reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 within 135 days and all the U.S.-led coalition forces would return home within 14 months from Afghanistan depending on Taliban's meeting the conditions envisaged in the agreement, including severing ties with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida network.

"USFOR-A maintains all the military means and authorities to accomplish our objectives-including conducting counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and ISIS-K and providing support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. USFOR-A is on track to meet directed force levels while retaining the necessary capabilities," the statement added.

The first batch of U.S. forces has reportedly pulled out from a base in southern Helmand province.

Since Jan. 1, 2015, Afghan security forces have assumed the full security charges from NATO and U.S. forces.

Around 16,000 foreign troops, including about 13,000 U.S. forces, have remained in Afghanistan to train and assist local security forces in their fight against the insurgents.