Donald Trump to announce further reduction in US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan

Washington: US President Trump will announce further troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in the next few days, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. The official told reporters travelling with the president to expect an announcement Wednesday on Iraq, and on Afghanistan in the coming days.

During a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi in August, Trump said American troops would leave Iraq but gave no timetable.

The talks between the pair came with attacks on American targets by pro-Iranian fighters on the rise and the Iraqi government facing calls to expel the roughly 5,000 US troops deployed in the country as part of anti-jihadist efforts.

The US military withdrew from Iraq in late 2011, leaving a small mission attached to the US embassy.

But additional American forces were deployed a few years later to support Iraqi forces in their war against Islamic State, which carried out a devastating offensive in the summer of 2014.

In Afghanistan the US currently has 8,600 soldiers in accordance with a bilateral agreement signed in February between Washington and the Taliban. The Pentagon said in August that its goal was to get down to fewer than 5,000 troops as inter-Afghan peace talks progress.

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