RECAST – Trump Says US Could Reduce Afghanistan Troop Levels to 4,000 by Election Day – Interview

WASHINGTON, September 4- President Donald Trump said in an interview that he expects the United States to reduce the number of troops it has in Afghanistan to as little as 4,000 by the November 3 election as part of its ongoing withdrawal from the country. The US has already pulled around 3,000 soldiers out of Afghanistan this year, bringing current troop levels…

(Recasts to indicate that the interview took place in August)

WASHINGTON, September 4 (Sputnik) – President Donald Trump said in an interview that he expects the United States to reduce the number of troops it has in Afghanistan to as little as 4,000 by the November 3 election as part of its ongoing withdrawal from the country.

“We’ll be down in a very short period of time to 8,000, then we’re going to be down to 4,000. We’re negotiating right now. We’ve been there for 19 years, and we’ll be getting out,” Trump said in an interview with Axios on HBO.

When pressed about how soon the reduction would occur and how many troops would still be in Afghanistan on Election Day, Trump said, “Probably 4,000 to 5,000.”

The interview was recorded on July 28 but released in full on August 3.

The US has already pulled around 3,000 soldiers out of Afghanistan this year, bringing current troop levels to about 8,600, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman has said. In addition, five bases previously occupied by American forces have been handed over to the Afghan government.

On February 29, the Taliban and the United States, which has supported the Afghan government, signed an agreement in Doha, stipulating a gradual withdrawal of US troops as well as the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations and prisoner exchanges. The intra-Afghan talks are expected to pave the way for a peace process and withdrawal of foreign troops after almost two decades of war and insurgency.

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