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Esper: ‘Less Than 5,000’ US Troops in Afghanistan by End of November

FILE - In this July 10, 2020, photo Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a briefing in Doral, Fla.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to “a number less than 5,000” by the end of November.

The reduction in force comment was made by the defense chief in an interview broadcast Saturday on Fox News.

Earlier last week, President Donald Trump said in an interview with Axios that he would like to see the approximately 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan decreased by “anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000.”