Acting secretary of defense confirms USA troop drawdowns in Iraq, Afghanistan

NATO chief warns of high cost if troops leave Afghanistan

President Donald Trump to cut number of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Some 900 Special Operations troops remain in Syria, guarding oilfields coveted by Bashar al-Assad's regime and occupying al-Tanf US military garrison on the Baghdad-Damascus highway. The expected drawdown would still leave 2,500 troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning that President-elect Joe Biden would be the fourth president to grapple with the still-smoldering conflicts launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Under a deal between the United States and the Taliban signed earlier this year, all American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces could be gone by May, if certain conditions are met.

Countries in the region, including Pakistan, Iran and Russian Federation have also asked for a responsible withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan.

Trump's deadline would come five days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

"We are of course trying to find out - also together with our partners and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a whole - what this means in concrete terms for capabilities on the ground, because it is also very clear that the USA, as the strongest contributor to the deployment on the ground, has a significant role to play in capabilities that are necessary to sustain the overall [troop presence]", Collatz-Johannsen said.

In August, the State Department's Rewards for Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation offered up to $5 million for information about Frerichs's kidnapping and that of Paul Edwin Overby Jr., another American who disappeared in Afghanistan in 2014. He is believed to be alive and relatively well, despite being held by a militant group that has been designated a foreign terrorist organization.

A source close with Frerichs' family said that they have not spoken with officials about the withdrawing of the troops. "And when the time is right, we should leave together in a coordinated and orderly way", Stoltenberg said. Trump tweeted October 7 that "we should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas". "It's a scary thought".

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Frerichs's family has not discussed the troop drawdown with U.S. officials and whether it will impact their situation, explained a source close to the family.

He said the county would not forget the more than 6,900 USA troops who gave their lives in the two countries, and another 52,000 who were wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Cale Brown, deputy spokesman for the State Department, said the safety of Americans overseas is its highest priority.

"Headlines about "bringing the boys home" sound good, but that's not what's happening", said Sen. Retaining even a small contingent of troops, though, could unravel the US deal with the Taliban, who insist all foreign forces must leave within the agreed spring 2021 time frame.

"We're maybe giving them what they want without getting what we want", Cakora said. Top Democratic lawmakers, however, were quick to slam it.

"As we evaluate the situation in Afghanistan and coordinate with our allies, we must ensure that our strategy and posture reflect the conditions on the ground", he said.

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Margaux Ewen, executive director of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, said efforts should be made "to be sure the releases of these two hostages are at the forefront of the conversation".

Miller, who most recently headed the National Counterterrorism Center and served as top counterterror official on Trump's National Security Council (NSC), cemented the president's approval by facilitating the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, current and former officials said.

Some experts believe that Biden will try to be tougher on the Taliban, such as by threatening to delay a U.S. troop withdrawal until the militants agree to reduce violence or cut ties with terrorist groups. The U.S. contributes troops and logistical support.

The German government is in touch with Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and is looking into what consequences the United States withdrawal would have for the around 1,200 German troops still deployed in Afghanistan as part of a larger North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission, he said. "Typically, one loses leverage when your adversary knows what you want and how bad you want it".

The official said, nothing had been finalized and that no orders have been received by the USA military.

"A precipitous drawdown in either Afghanistan or Iraq would be a mistake", he said. If the deal goes to plan, they will have fully withdrawn by next spring.

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"I can't blame anybody", she added. My concern is only for Mark.

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