Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced November 17 the United States’ intention to draw down U.S. troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq. By January 15, 2021, there will be 2,500 U.S. troops in each country.
“This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives; supported by the American people; and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy or objectives,” stated Acting Defense Secretary Miller. He added, “We owe this moment to the many patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice and to their comrades who carry forward their legacy”:
“Together, we have mourned the loss of more than 6,900 American troops who gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. And we will never forget the more than 52,000 who bear the wounds of war, and all those who still carry its scars – visible and invisible.”
In a call with Acting Secretary of Defense Miller, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed his gratitude to every American service member who fought for peace in Afghanistan. The U.S. continues to support Afghanistan Peace Negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the Taliban, which present the best opportunity to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the war.
Acting Defense Secretary Miller noted the Unites States’ continued readiness to protect Americans and support American partners:
“The United States armed forces remain committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people and supporting our like-minded allies and partners worldwide. If the forces of terror, instability, division, and hate begin a deliberate campaign to disrupt our efforts, we stand ready to apply the capabilities required to thwart them.”
By bringing American troops home, “we will finish this generational war,” declared Acting Defense Secretary Miller. “We will protect our children from the heavy burden and toll of perpetual war. And we will honor the sacrifices made in service to peace and stability in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, and celebrate all those who helped us secure freedom over oppression.”