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Will drop troop level but permanent presence to remain in Afghanistan: Trump

File photo of Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Washington Aug 29, 2019, 07.40 PM (IST)

President Donald Trump on Thursday said that US troop levels will drop to 8,600 in Afghanistan if a peace 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 an attack on the United States originated from Afghanistan "we would come back with a force like... never before."

The United States, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban from power in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.

Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by September 1 - ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls next year.