The U.S. military in Afghanistan has rejected the reports suggesting that the U.S. forces have drawn back operations against the militant groups in the country.
The Newsweek magazine earlier reported that the U.S.-led operations against Taliban in Afghanistan have significantly reduced or halted as the Pentagon continues to plan for a potential withdrawal of thousands of U.S. forces from its longest conflict ever.
The magazine also reported that it has learnt from senior Pentagon officials that U.S. personnel have been ordered to limit nearly all offensive combat operations against the Taliban and cease advising the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as the Trump administration proposes cutting U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan by nearly half to 6,000 as a means of finalizing “technical” details among Taliban leadership.
However, Col. Sonny Leggett, the USFOR-A spokesman, said “This article is inaccurate and speculative, citing unnamed sources who are likely as far from the subject as they are from Afghanistan itself.”
Col. Leggett further added “The characterizations of changes to our authorities and operations have no basis in fact. We have no such orders and have made no such changes.”
U.S.-Taliban talks conclude in Qatar:
This comes as the 8th round of peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban representatives recently concluded in Qatari capital of Doha.
The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad said in a Twitter post late on Monday “We’ve concluded this round of talks that started Aug 3 between the US and the Taliban. Over the last few days, the two sides focused on technical details. They were productive. I am on my way back to DC to consult on next steps.”
The Taliban also issued a statement confirming the conclusion of the talks and further consultation with the group’s leaders regarding the future steps.
However, the two sides have not disclosed further information regarding the topics which they would consult with their leadership.