Kabul, Oct 8 (efe-epa).– United States President Donald Trump on Thursday said all American troops in Afghanistan should be “home by Christmas”, in an announcement quickly welcomed by the Taliban.
“We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE men and women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas,” Trump said in a tweet but did not give more details about the possible withdrawal.
The Taliban called it a “positive and good step” towards the implementation of a landmark deal between the US and the insurgent group in February for ending the two-decade-long war in Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that it “is committed to the provisions of the agreement and hopes to have positive and good relations with all countries, including the United States, in the future.”
As per the US-Taliban deal, foreign forces have to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees by the insurgents.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in November for a second four-year term, has made troops withdrawal from “ridiculous endless wars” among the mainstays of the campaign and foreign policy.
Last month, he indicated that he would reduce the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan to 4,000 in “a short period of time,” and that he intended to continue cutting the number of American soldiers in Iraq to 2,000.
The latest announcement by the president came days after the head of the US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, said the government would reduce the number of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to 4,500 by November.
The Doha deal paved the way for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban that began last month in the Qatari capital in a bid to end the Afghan war.
The two sides have been rooting for the reduction in violence and a possible power-sharing agreement in Kabul.
However, the level of violence in the country has been on the rise in recent weeks.
At least 24 people have been killed and dozens injured in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan as a result of three car bomb explosions in recent days.
Since the beginning of the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan, the US military has lost 2,217 soldiers in the country.
The US currently has about 10,000 soldiers deployed in Afghan territory. EFE-EPA