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U.S. withdraws from five bases in Afghanistan, reduces forces to 8,600 troops

The United States on Tuesday announced it has withdrawn from five bases in Afghanistan and reduced its forces in the country from 13,000 troops to 8,600 after signing an agreement in February. File Photo by Jalil Rezayee/EPA-EFE
The United States on Tuesday announced it has withdrawn from five bases in Afghanistan and reduced its forces in the country from 13,000 troops to 8,600 after signing an agreement in February. File Photo by Jalil Rezayee/EPA-EFE

July 14 (UPI) -- The United States announced Tuesday that it has withdrawn from five bases in Afghanistan and reduced the size of its forces in the country, following through on an agreement with the Taliban earlier this year.

Department of Defense spokesman Johnathan Hoffman said the United States withdrew from the bases and reduced its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 to meet the obligation in the agreement reached in February.

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"We maintain the capabilities and authorities necessary to protect ourselves, our Allies and partners, and U.S. national interests," Hoffman said. "We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as they work to secure peace in the country."

U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the agreement on Feb. 29, with the United States pledging a full withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops after 14 months on the condition that the Taliban meet certain security requirements.

The process began in March, as the United States was tasked with reducing its forces in Afghanistan within 135 days from the signing date.

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"The United States honors its obligations," Hoffman said. "All sides should reduce violence and embark on intra-Afghan negotiations capable of achieving a negotiated and lasting peace for Afghanistan."

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