U.S to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan to ‘less than 5,000’

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Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team load onto a UH-60 Blackhawk during Hawk Strike training in Hungary on March 3, 2020. Hawk Strike allows units to conduct movements in a realistic, high-intensity environment to ensure readiness for combat and the ability to fully integrate with any NATO partner and ally, such as the Hungarian Forces. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis)

The United States plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, adding detail to drawdown plans U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier this week.

The United States currently has about 8,600 troops in Afghanistan. Trump said in an interview released Monday by Axios that the United States planned to lower that number to about 4,000.

Esper announced the lower troop levels in a Fox News interview.