KABUL: The US troops have started leaving their camp in the southern Helmand province, a move that is considered the beginning of their drawdown based on the February peace deal between Washington and Taliban that allowed all the US and its NATO allies leave Afghanistan gradually.
The American soldiers stationed in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah city, left there to another camp in the Shorab area, according to local political figures and tribal elders.
The elders and political figures said Tuesday that the US troops had been deployed in many points in Lashkar Gah, but now have gathered in a military camp.
Sources close to Taliban say that the US withdrawal was part of a peace agreement they signed, emphasizing that the withdrawal would not affect security situation.
Meanwhile, the NATO-led Resolute Support mission says that the US has begun reduction in its soldiers’ number in Afghanistan, according to a deal it signed with the militants.
Tribal elders in Helmand say that American soldiers were stationed there for a long time, providing consultation to their Afghan counterparts as well as Afghan civil bodies.
Sonny Leggett, Spokesman for the Resolute Support Mission, said Tuesday that Washington started the drawdown based on its peace agreement with Taliban.
Leggett said that the number of US soldiers would decrease to some 8,600 in four months considering the situation. The US has currently more than 13,000 troops in Afghanistan who are mostly engaged in advising and training to Afghan security and defense forces since their combat mission ended in December 2014.
“Based on a joint statement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States as well as a peace agreement between the United States and Taliban, the number of soldiers will decrease to 8,600 within 135 days considering the situation,” said Leggett.