Pentagon orders remaining active-duty troops to leave Washington area

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon will return the remaining 900 active troops sent to the Washington, DC area to respond to civil unrest, and are expected to return to their home base, a U.S. official told Reuters.

The official said on condition of anonymity that U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had made the decision and that troops would return to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York.

While the troops were in the National Capital Region, they were not sent to Washington and were on hand in case they were needed.

On Thursday, the Pentagon ordered about 700 active troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to return to Fort Bragg.

The official said a decision had been made to send them back because enough National Guard troops had arrived in the city.

There are approximately 5,000 National Guard personnel in Washington or on the way to assist law enforcement.

Like cities across the country, the US capital is rocked by a week of protests against police brutality and racism following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Stores and offices in Washington and nearby areas were hit by vandalism and looting at night after peaceful demonstrations last weekend, prompting Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser to impose at 7 p.m. curfew on Monday and Tuesday.

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