Trump: Taliban deal close, US troops to drop to 8,600

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says the U.S. plans to reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 and then will determine further drawdowns from there.

Trump told Fox News Radio’s “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Thursday that the U.S. is “getting close” to making a deal with the Taliban, but that he’s not sure it’s really going to happen.

The Pentagon has been developing plans to withdraw as many as half of the 14,000 U.S. troops still there, but the Taliban want them all out.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that it’s too early to talk about a complete withdrawal. He says any U.S. deal with the Taliban will be based on security conditions and that Afghan forces still need U.S. help.

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