US military personnel return to their checkpost after an operation against Taliban in Maidan Wardak province. File
"Oh yeah, you have to keep a presence," Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio. "We're going to keep a presence there. We're reducing that presence very substantially and we're going to always have a presence. We're going to have high intelligence."
Trump said the US force level in Afghanistan was being reduced to 8,600 "and then we make a determination as to what happens." Some 14,000 US service members are currently in Afghanistan, among whom about 5,000 are dedicated to counterinsurgency operations.
The Taliban said on Wednesday it was close to a "final agreement" with US officials on a deal that would see US forces withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a pledge that the country would not become a haven for other militant groups.
"We hope to have good news soon for our Muslim, independence-seeking nation," Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha said.
Both US and Taliban negotiators have reported progress in their talks in recent weeks, raising the prospect of an end to the conflict. Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for peace in Afghanistan, was due to travel from Doha to Kabul this week for a meeting with Afghan leaders.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and ousted its Taliban leaders after they refused to hand over members of the Al Qaeda militant group behind the Sept.11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
On Wednesday, the top US military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, told reporters that it was too early to talk about the future of US counterterrorism forces in Afghanistan.
"I'm not using the 'withdrawal' word right now," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the Pentagon.
"I honestly think it's premature to talk about what our counterterrorism presence in Afghanistan may or may not be without a better appreciation for what will the conditions (be)," Dunford said.
Dunford said that in the current security environment, local Afghan security forces needed US support to deal with the violence.
"If an agreement happens in the future, if the security environment changes, then obviously our posture may adjust," Dunford said.
The US military has begun withdrawing troops as part of the pullout agreed in the February 29 agreement with the Taliban. The request for a UN vote came after hard negotiations that began one week ago, diplomats said Monday.
The Afghan president on Thursday praised Pakistan’s efforts to advance the peace process in the region as he reached out to Islamabad for help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Kabul government,
Observers believe that the nearly 18-year conflict will be the major focus of talks between Khan and President Donald Trump when they meet on July 22.
"We had a very difficult two years. We didn't have foreign exchange and couldn't pay our debts. We have avoided a huge crisis because we didn't default (payments). But I know it hasn't been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
The flag hoisting ceremony was also held at the Pakistan Consulate General Dubai on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day. The ceremony was held in a manner keeping in view the local laws on social gatherings due to COVID-19.
Dewa has successfully installed 240 electric vehicle charging stations in different areas of Dubai such as government offices, airports, petrol stations, shopping malls, commercial offices, clinics and hospitals, residential complexes and establishments.
Consequently, Vijayan will not unfurl the tricolour at the main Independence Day function on Saturday, with Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran stepping in for him, in the ceremony, which will last only 10 minutes.