US begins troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, official says

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FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2019 file photo, U.S. soldiers survey the the safe zone between Syria and the Turkish border near Tal Abyad, Syria, on a joint patrol with the Tax Abyad Military Council, affiliated with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, and that the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent a resurgence in that country. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. official say American troops have begun leaving Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement.

The official said Monday that hundreds of troops are heading out of the country and will not be replaced as the U.S. moves ahead with plans to cut the number of forces in the country from about 13,000 to 8,600.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the movement ahead of an official announcement. Under the agreement, the U.S. troop withdrawal had to begin with 10 days after the peace deal was signed on Feb. 29.

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