"I can report to you today that the retrograde is proceeding on pace, indeed slightly ahead of it," Austin told the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense before a hearing on the $715 billion Pentagon budget being released Friday.
He did not offer further detail on the drawdown, but his announcement echoed a report a report from the Pentagon Tuesday that the drawdown is "somewhere between 16% and 25% complete."
Pentagon press secretary told reporters that the United States will continue to have a presence in the Central Command area of responsibility, and will continue to have a diplomatic relationship with Afghanistan.
"Our relationship with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will continue, but it will continue in a different way."
In mid-April President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the war, and the drawdown began later that month.