President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would leave “very strong” intelligence presence in Afghanistan, despite hopes he has long expressed of fully withdrawing U.S. military presence from the country.
“I would leave very strong intelligence there,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Although the President acknowledged his desire to leave Afghanistan, he stressed that it is a country with “a lot of good hiding places” and needs to be watched. His remarks come amid reports that the Taliban is pushing to have rewritten a draft agreement under which the U.S. would withdraw troops from Afghanistan if Taliban leaders agree to help combat terrorism, The Hill writes.
“We are working to rewrite the draft agreement and incorporate in its clauses that have been agreed upon,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said during peace talks in Qatar with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
President Trump has been insisting on withdrawing troops from the country long before taking office. In 2013, he tweeted “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.”
Back in December, the Trump administration announced that it would pull troops out of Afghanistan, but the proposal was met with resistance from Republican lawmakers.