Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Trump reiterated his decision on troop withdrawals and said “we’ll be down very shortly over the next couple of weeks to 4,000 — less than 4,000 in Afghanistan.
“And then we’ll make that final determination a little bit later on.”
On the Taliban, Trump said: “We’re dealing very well with the Taliban. They’re very tough, they’re very smart, they’re very sharp. But, you know, it’s been 19 years, and even they are tired of fighting, in all fairness.”
Trump also said the US had been serving as a “police force” in Afghanistan.
“And we really served as a police force, because if we wanted to do what we had to do, we would have fought a lot differently than they have over their 19 years.
“They didn’t fight it properly. They were police, okay? They’re not police; they’re — they’re soldiers. So there’s a difference. The police — nobody has more respect for police than I do, but they have to do their own policing.”
Trump went on to say the US is “having some very good discussions with the Taliban, as you probably heard. It’s been public. And — but we’ll be down to — very shortly, we’ll be down to less than 4,000 soldiers.”
“And so we’ll be out of there, knowing that certain things have to happen — certain things have to be fulfilled. But 19 years is a long time, 8,000 miles away. Nineteen years is a long time,” he said.
This comes amid the first rounds of intra-Afghan negotiations following the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February that set out certain conditions – one of which is the withdrawal of all foreign troops by around April next year.