By Brian W. Everstine
The Pentagon has approved plans to draw down to 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, focusing on a smaller number of bases and continuing the advising and training role as well as the counterterrorism mission. “After 20 years, [and] two decades of consistent effort there, we’ve achieved a modicum of success,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said Dec. 2. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller recently approved recommendations from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and U.S. Central Command commanders, and efforts to withdraw troops by the Jan. 15 deadline are underway, he added. Under an agreement with the Taliban, NATO forces would leave Afghanistan by May if conditions are met, but President Donald J. Trump last month ordered the U.S. to pull thousands of troops out before the Jan. 20, 2021, inauguration.