The Pentagon has issued a notice to commanders known as a “warning order” to begin planning to drawdown the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 troops and 2,500 in Iraq by Jan 15, the officials said. Currently there are approximately 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 troops in Iraq.
The Pentagon and White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller sent a seemingly contradictory message to the force on Friday saying the US must continue its battle against al Qaeda and the terrorist forces behind 9/11 while also saying it was time to bring troops home.
“This war isn’t over,” Miller wrote in his message. “We are on the verge of defeating al Qaida and it’s associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish. Indeed, this fight has been long, our sacrifices have been enormous, and many are weary of war — I’m one of them — but this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role,” he wrote in reference to the current US role of supporting counterterrorism campaigns such as the one in Afghanistan.
“All wars must end. Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home,” Miller added.
This story is breaking and will be updated.