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Trump cuts troop levels in Afghanistan but stops short of full withdrawal

Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali
·1 min read

By Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will sharply reduce the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 before he leaves office, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday, stopping short of the complete withdrawal Trump threatened to carry out by Christmas.

Trump's decision to limit himself to a partial withdrawal was first reported by Reuters on Monday. The Pentagon confirmed the drawdown and also outlined a modest withdrawal of forces in Iraq that will reduce troop levels there from 3,000 to 2,500.

Critics say the Afghan withdrawal will undermine fragile security and hurt ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)