President Donald Trump is expected to cut a significant number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and a smaller number in Iraq, U.S. officials said Monday.
The expected plans would leave 2,500 troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. officials said military leaders were told over the weekend about the planned withdrawals and that an executive order is in the works but has not yet been delivered to commanders.
There are currently 4,500 to 5,000 troops in Afghanistan and more than 3,000 in Iraq.
Under the planned order, the troop cuts would be completed in January.
Trump’s new Pentagon chief, Christopher Miller, hinted at the troop withdrawals over the weekend.
“We remain committed to finishing the war that al-Qaida brought to our shores in 2001,” he said, and warned that “we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.”
But Miller also made it clear that “all wars must end.”
“This fight has been long, our sacrifices have been enormous, and many are weary of war — I’m one of them,” he said.
“Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”
The Pentagon was already on track to cut troops levels in Afghanistan to about 4,500 by mid-November.
America’s exit from Afghanistan after 19 years was laid out in a February agreement reached with the Taliban.
That agreement said U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan in 18 months, provided the Taliban honored a commitment to fight terrorist groups such as the Islamic State’s affiliate in the country.
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