WASHINGTON – President Donald J. Trump suggested that the US planned to maintain a force presence of several thousand troops in Afghanistan following an agreement with the Taliban.
“We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a determination from there as to what happens … we’re bringing it down,” Trump told Fox News Radio.
Repeating a remark he made during a July meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan he added
“could win that war so fast if I wanted to kill ten million people there … which I don’t.”
Exact numbers are not public, the Trump administration increased the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to around 14,000.
Obama administration, when it left office maintained 8,400 troops in a limited role. That number did not include contractors and civilians assisting the U.S. mission in the country.
Trump’s comments follow remarks by General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an agreement with the Taliban would take into consideration the security situation in Afghanistan.
“I think it’s premature,” Dunford said, to address the prospect of total withdrawal. “I’m not using the ‘withdraw’ word right now,” he added. “We’re going to make sure our, that Afghanistan’s not a sanctuary.”
“It’s important to emphasize this, any agreement that we have moving forward, the President’s been very clear, is going to be conditions-based,” Dunford said. “So those conditions are what makes me confident that it’s worth trying.“
“all Shura (consultation) members have received the draft and they are reading it carefully.”A senior Taliban representative