US to keep 8,600 troops in Afghanistan after deal with Taliban, says Trump

The US will ‘always’ have a presence in the country, Trump said. President Donald Trump on Thursday said that United States troop levels in Afghanistan will drop to 8,600 if a deal is reached with the Afghan Taliban and that a permanent presence will remain. “We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a […]

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Pakistani army soldiers stand near a border terminal in Ghulam Khan, a town in North Waziristan, on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, on January 27, 2019. - Afghans harboured furtive hopes on January 27 that talks between the US and Taliban leaders could end decades of conflict, despite fears an American withdrawal might unleash even more violence. American negotiators and the Taliban on January 26 said the two sides had made substantial progress in the most recent round of talks in Qatar, promising to meet again to continue discussions that could pave the way for official peace negotiations. (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM / AFP)

August 30, 2019

The US will ‘always’ have a presence in the country, Trump said.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said that United States troop levels in Afghanistan will drop to 8,600 if a deal is reached with the Afghan Taliban and that a permanent presence will remain.

“We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a determination from there,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio. “We’re always going to have a presence.”

Trump also said that if another attack on the US originated from Afghanistan “we would come back with a force like […] never before.”

US troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on US soil carried out by Al Qaeda, which was sheltered by the former Afghan Taliban regime.

Washington now wants to end its military involvement and has been talking to the Afghan Taliban since at least 2018.

Trump says that troops will only be reduced when the Afghan Taliban give a guarantee that its territory will not be used by Al Qaeda or other international militant groups.

Trump underlined that there was to be no complete withdrawal, keeping a force that would provide “high intelligence”.

“You have to keep a presence,” he said.

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