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Trump - U.S. will maintain presence in Afghanistan even if deal reached with Taliban

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Trump - U.S. will maintain presence in Afghanistan even if deal reached with Taliban
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump returns after travelling to the AMVETS convention in Kentucky, at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis/File Photo   -   Copyright  Tasos Katopodis(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States would maintain a force in the area of Afghanistan even if Washington reaches an agreement with the Taliban to end the 18-year war that began after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States by al Qaeda.

“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 U.S. force level in Afghanistan was being reduced down to 8,600 “and then we make a determination as to what happens.”

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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