The US Department of Defense is “conducting prudent planning” to withdraw all US soldiers from Afghanistan by May 2021 “if conditions warrant”, a Pentagon official told the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security at a House Hearing on the Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Policy.

“I’d like to make it clear that [Defense Secretary Mark Esper] has not issued orders to reduce military personnel below this 4,000 to 5,000 level in Afghanistan, although we are conducting prudent planning to withdraw to zero service members by May 2021 if conditions warrant, per the US-Taliban agreement,” David Helvey, the official performing the duties of assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said at the hearing.

According to the official, the Pentagon expects to be “at about 4,500 troops” in Afghanistan by November.

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