UK will likely follow the U.S. in downsizing troops in Afghanistan

According to a Reuter’s story quoting Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday that Britain will likely follow the United States in reducing troop levels in Afghanistan.

Wallace said that Britain will continue to work with Afghan government and the U.S. to protect the country’s security.

This week US acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced that the US troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced to 2,500 in each country by mid-January.

“By Jan. 15, 2021, our forces, their size in Afghanistan, will be 2,500 troops. Our force size in Iraq will also be 2,500 by that same date,” Miller told reporters.

Wallace said the Americans were not totally pulling out at this stage, and neither was Britain. Reuters reported.

“I expect if they (the U.S.) are reducing at some stage, we will come down.” Wallace said.

This comes after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday warned against a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and said the price for leaving too soon could “be very high”.

NATO currently has less than 12,000 troops from dozens of countries in Afghanistan, while the US is now down to around 4,500.

Stoltenberg said that “even with further US reductions, NATO will continue its mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. We are also committed to funding them through 2024.”