US troop pullout from Afghanistan ahead of schedule May 28, 2020 0 548 12345 AFPKabulThe US military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule, an official told AFP on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home.The developments came as questions loomed over the next phase of Afghanistan’s long war following a historic, three-day ceasefire that led to a major drop in civilian casualties.The truce, which the Taliban called to mark the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, ended Wednesday, leaving Afghans anxious about whether it would be extended, or when the war might come raging back.Violence levels remained low even after the end of the ceasefire, but Afghan security forces conducted air strikes in the south that killed 18 “militants”, police said.Under a deal the US signed with the Taliban in February, the Pentagon was to bring troop levels down from about 12,000 to 8,600 by mid-July, before withdrawing all forces by May 2021.But a senior US defence official said the troop number was already at approximately 8,500, as commanders accelerate the withdrawal over fears of the coronavirus. “The drawdown was accelerated due to COVID-19 precautions,” the official told AFP, noting that the departure of anyone with health concerns or over a certain age was being prioritised.Trump told reporters Tuesday the US force level was “down to 7,000-some-odd soldiers right now”.The next day he returned to a frequent complaint that America should not be acting as a “police force” in Afghanistan.“After 19 years, it is time for them to police their own Country,” Trump wrote on Twitter.“Bring our soldiers back home but closely watch what is going on and strike with a thunder like never before, if necessary!”Afghans enjoyed a rare respite in the nearly 19-year-old war during the ceasefire, only the second of its type.No major violence was reported until after the pause ended Wednesday with air strikes in southern Zabul province.The strikes killed 18 militants in response to an attack on a security forces convoy in Shah Joy district, provincial police spokesman Lal Mohammad Amiri told AFP. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Rouhani urges Iran MPs to ‘cooperate’ as parliament opens May 28, 2020 0 537 French court rejects bail for Rwanda genocide suspect May 28, 2020 0 527 UN confirms 15 cases of COVID-19 among Syrian refugees in Lebanon May 28, 2020 0 1053 Eight Yemeni soldiers killed in rebel attack: Source AFP Dubai Eight Yemeni government troops were killed and several others wounded in a missile attack by Huthi rebels targeting the army command in the battleground province of Marib, a military official said Wednesday. .. African Development Bank chief hits back over graft accusations AFP Abidjan The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, hit back on Wednesday at accusations of corruption and vowed to continue working. In a press statement, Adesina slammed .. Rouhani urges for stricter laws after murder of 14-year-old Tehran Following the murder of a 14-year-old Iranian girl, which sparked protests across the country, President Hassan Rowhani has called for stricter laws regarding so-called honour killings in a cabinet meeting on .. ADF militia kills dozens in eastern DR Congo AFP Beni Dozens of civilians have been killed in eastern DR Congo in the latest of a string of massacres by the notorious ADF militia, a UN source and a local NGO told AFP on Wednesday. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have .. Saudi coalition says it downed drones launched by Houthis at Najran DPA Riyadh The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen said its forces intercepted and downed drones launched by the Iranian-backed group towards the south-western Saudi city of Najran on Wednesday. The ..