Release
Immediate Release

Statement by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Force Levels in Afghanistan

Jan. 15, 2021

Today, U.S. force levels in Afghanistan have reached 2,500. Directed by President Trump, and as I announced on November 17, this drawdown brings U.S. forces in the country to their lowest levels since 2001. Today, the United States is closer than ever to ending nearly two decades of war and welcoming in an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace process to achieve a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. 

With a force of 2,500, commanders have what they need to keep America, our people and our interests safe. Working alongside our NATO allies and partners, the United States will continue to execute both our counterterrorism mission and the train, advise and assist mission in support of Afghan Security Forces working to secure peace in their country. Continued fulfillment of these two complementary missions seeks to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to harbor those who seek to bring harm to the United States of America. 

This force reduction is an indication of the United States’ continued support towards the Afghan peace process and our adherence to commitments made in both the U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan Joint Declaration. Moving forward, while the Department continues with planning capable of further reducing U.S. troop levels to zero by May of 2021, any such future drawdowns remain conditions-based. All sides must demonstrate their commitment to advancing the peace process. Further, the United States will continue to take any action necessary to ensure protection of our homeland, our citizens and our interests.