The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that US President Donald Trump ordered him to reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan by the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported.
“That’s my directive from the president of the United States. He’s been unambiguous: End the endless wars. Drawdown. Reduce. It won’t just be us,” said Pompeo, speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C, as quoted by The Washington Post.
Pompeo also suggested that troop withdrawal is connected to how the US president views his job performance, saying a reduction of forces is “not only my expectation, it would be job-enhancing.”
“We hope that overall the need for combat forces in the region is reduced,” Pompeo added. This comes amid the ongoing peace efforts by the Afghan and US governments.
On July 28, the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad clarified that the talks will happen after the United States “concludes its own agreement” with the Taliban.
On July 27, the State Minister for Peace Abdul Salam Rahimi said that direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban will start within the next two weeks and that it will be held in a European country, a claim rejected by Taliban officials in Qatar.