Washington, 15 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – President Donald Trump’s goal of reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 personnel members per country was met on Friday, just five days before the end of his term.
The drawdown in Afghanistan “brings US forces in the country to their lowest levels since 2001,” acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement.
“With a force of 2,500, commanders have what they need to keep America, our people and our interests safe,” he added.
Miller said that in Iraq, the reduction in force levels “is reflective of the increased capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.”
“We will continue to have a counterterrorism platform in Iraq to support partner forces with air power and intelligence,” he said.
Trump, who leaves office on January 20 when Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated, had directed the reduction of troops abroad in November, angering NATO partners as well as allies in his own Republican party.
Trump campaigned on ending foreign entanglements and the so-called “endless wars,” but his presidency ends without him bringing home the last soldier from any foreign war.
The US has been in Afghanistan since 2001, when it invaded after the September 11 attacks. In 2003, the US occupied Iraq and overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein.