Withdrawing of troops from Afghanistan as part of a deal with the Taliban aimed at bringing peace to the country has started.

The US agreed to reduce its troops from about 12,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the agreement.

Drawing back troops was a condition of the historic peace deal signed by the US and the Taliban on 29 February.

The Afghan government did not take part in the deal, but is expected to hold talks with the Taliban.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani initially said he would not comply with an agreement to release Taliban prisoners as a pre-condition for direct talks with the militant group.

But reports say the president, who was inaugurated for a second term on Monday, will issue a decree for at least 1,000 Taliban prisoners to be released this week.

The peace deal appeared fragile last week after the US launched an air strike in response to Taliban fighters attacking Afghan forces in Helmand province.

The Taliban called for de-escalation and on Monday, Col Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, announced the first phase of the American withdrawal.

The US and its Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.

Under the agreement, the militants have agreed to refrain from attacks as well as not allowing al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power weeks after the September 2001 attacks in the US by al-Qaeda, then based in Afghanistan.

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