US to withdraw 5,000 troops from Afghanistan

(VOVWORLD) - The United States is set to withdraw almost 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases within the coming 4 and a half months following a peace accord agreed upon with the Taliban, said  chief US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad  on Monday.

In exchange for the  partial military withdrawal, the Taliban pledged to prevent militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State to  use Afghanistan  as a base for attacks on the US and its allies. Khalilzad said the aim of the deal was to end the war and see a reduction in violence in the short-term, even without a formal ceasefire agreement. It would be up to negotiations among the Afghans themselves to agree on a settlement, he said, adding that “intra-Afghan” talks, which might be held in Norway, would aim to reach a broader political settlement and end the fighting between the Taliban and the Western-backed government in Kabul. The Taliban have as yet rejected direct talks with Kabul’s government.

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