US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The US military has begun withdrawing from two bases in Afghanistan, one of them in a state that is a stronghold of the Taliban, as a US official announced on Tuesday, what constitutes the first stage of the agreement signed on February 29 in Doha between the United States and the rebels.
The two US officials said that the two bases are located in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the largely rebel-held Helmand province, and in Herat (west) state.
According to the text of the agreement, the number of American soldiers stationed in the country should be reduced from 12,000 or 13,000 to 8,600 by mid-July. Five of the twenty bases in the country will have to be vacated.
But Colonel Sony Legate, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, announced Monday that US forces “maintain all capabilities to achieve their goals.”
For his part, Omar Zawak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province, announced that only “20 to 30” foreign soldiers had left to thank Qah since the end of the week.
The United States, which wants to end the longest wars in its history, pledged in the Doha agreement to withdraw completely foreign forces from Afghanistan by 14 months if the Taliban respected their security pledges.
Helmand, along with the neighboring Kandahar state, is a Taliban stronghold, in which American and British forces have been particularly targeted during 18 years of the Afghan conflict.
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