About 5,000 U.S. troops could be headed home from Afghanistan if an initial peace deal with the Taliban goes forward.
The Washington Post has the story on talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, which are still ongoing.
According to The Post, the U.S. is willing to drawdown to between 8,000 and 9,000 troops from its current level of 14,000 in exchange for a Taliban cease fire and the group's renunciation of al Qaeda.
- A U.S. official told The Post that additional cuts to American forces could come as the agreement continues to be hammered out.
- In early July, the U.S.' top negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, concluded his seventh round of talks with the Taliban and said they were the "most productive," while adding that Taliban and Afghan officials had agreed on a "roadmap to peace," without sharing specifics.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently that President Donald Trump had directed him to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan before the 2020 election. "That's my directive from the president of the United States," he said.
- Pompeo later backtracked on those remarks, saying that "there is no deadline."
- Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller, the top commander in Afghanistan, is open to the proposal, according to The Post, since he believes a small remnant counterterrorism force could still protect American interests in the region.