- The Washington Times
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s mission in Afghanistan will continue its efforts despite U.S. plans to withdraw troops from the country, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

His comments come a day after acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed the Pentagon will reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 each by Jan. 15 — five days before presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden is expected to take the oath of office.

America currently has 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and about 3,000 in Iraq, and both deployments date back to the early 2000s.

In a tweet the next day, Mr. Stoltenberg said that he had discussed NATO’s ongoing mission with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

“We support the #Afghanistan peace process & as part of it we’ll continue to adjust our presence,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “Even with the US reduction, NATO will continue to train, advise & assist the Afghan forces in their fight against international terrorism.”

Although the decision to reduce the U.S. presence in Afghanistan was met with criticism back in Washington, Mr. Miller maintained that the broad U.S. policies in the Middle East will not change as a result of the drawdowns.

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