17:35 GMT20 January 2021
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    The aid pledge comes days after Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller, who was recently appointed to the role by the Trump administration, announced the US' intention to drastically draw down the number of troops deployed in war-torn Afghanistan in the next few weeks.

    The United States will provide $600 million for civilian assistance in Afghanistan next year but half of those funds will depend on progress potentially made throughout peace talks, Under Secretary of State David Hale said o Tuesday.

    "We stand ready to support Afghanistan, and to that end we have made available $600 million for civilian assistance needs in 2021," David Hale said during a United Nations conference on Afghanistan.

    The United States is currently pledging $300 million of the total sum, with the remaining money to be made available depending on progress in the peace process, the diplomat added.

    UK soldiers walk at a base in Kandahar on May 6, 2010.
    © AFP 2020 / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA
    UK soldiers walk at a base in Kandahar on May 6, 2010.

    The United Kingdom, the third biggest bilateral donor to Afghanistan after the US and Germany, has for its part pledged $207 million in aid to support peace and stability in the country. A statement issued by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on Tuesday said the UK’s aid pledge for 2021 would help cut child mortality rates and boost citizens' access to education and essential social infrastructure.

    The pledge complements UK support to Afghanistan through diplomacy and security commitments and comes after the $93.5 million security pledge for Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in 2021, which was announced last month.

    Pullout Plans

    On 17 November, Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller, the top official newly appointed by the Trump administration, announced the US' intention to reduce the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan to 2,500 by 15 January. Also, the US is set to cut the number of troops stationed in Iraq – also down to 2,500 servicemen, Miller said, asserting that the plan for the near future is "consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives supported by the American people and does not equate to a change in US policy".

    The moves are generally in line with President Donald Trump's 2016 vow to pull the US out of "endless wars", but POTUS has so far failed to withdraw from either of the conflicts completely.

    The UK has since followed in the United States' footsteps, with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announcing the other day that although it doesn't have a massive contingent in the Central Asian country, Britain will also reduce its forces there.

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    US withdrawal, civilians, troops, Afghanistan
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