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 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.
The latest information from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan shows an almost 30 per cent drop in casualties for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year
In less than 90 hours, Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori takes off for the International Space Station, much to the cheer of a new spacefaring nation, UAE.
On Sept.20, the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft prime and backup crews performed the second “fitting” – check inspection of the crewed spacecraft in the launch set at the pad No. 254 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
A businesswoman and a manager who teamed up to obtain a trade licence through fraudulent means have lost an appeal against a Dhs300, 000 fine.