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Trump says may be able to cut troop numbers in Afghanistan if talks go well

President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the Capitol in Washington, DC on February 5, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Washington, DC, USA Feb 06, 2019, 09.21 AM (IST)

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration was holding “constructive talks” with groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, and would be able to reduce the US troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism as it makes progress.

“I have also accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan. Our troops have fought with unmatched valour—and thanks to their bravery, we are now able to pursue a political solution to this long and bloody conflict,” Trump said in his annual State of the Union address. 

"In Afghanistan, my administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban. As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement—but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace," he added.

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"In Afghanistan, my administration is holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban," Trump said.