WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Thursday said that US troop levels in Afghanistan will drop to 8,600 if a deal is reached with the 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 United States originated from Afghanistan “we would come back with a force like… never before.”
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. Trump says that troops will only be reduced when the Taliban gives a guarantee that its territory will not be used by al-Qaeda or other international militant groups.