The acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said he did not receive orders from President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
"I'm not ordered to drop off our troops in Afghanistan," Shanahan told reporters before an unannounced visit to Kabul on Monday. "The direction … in close cooperation with secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and [National Security Advisor John] Bolton must support ambassador [Zalmay] Khalilzad in these peace negotiations. & # 39;
Last week during the State of the Union Address, Trump again closed Syria's long-standing conflicts to Afghanistan and said that "big nations are not waging endless wars." He told the crowd that as US diplomats made progress in Afghan peace negotiations, "we can reduce our troop presence and concentrate on counterterrorism."
Shanahan said that the size of the presence of US troops in Afghanistan in a "coordinated and disciplined way" would be determined.
"I think the presence we want in Afghanistan will ensure our domestic defense and support regional stability," he said.
The Acting Minister of Defense met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President, Abdullah Abdullah and Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid in Kabul.
He also visited a base outside of Kabul, where American special forces train their Afghan counterparts and spoke to the American army General Austin "Scott" Miler, who orders the international troops in Afghanistan.
The journey comes when the United States is working on a peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Shanahan stressed the importance of involvement of the Afghan government in peace talks.
"The US has made significant, significant investments to ensure security, but the Afghans are deciding on their future," he said.
The government of the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has not been part of the ongoing talks between the American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban.
Khalilzad said last week that he believes that a peace agreement can be reached before the presidential elections of Afghanistan in July. He and his team will meet again with the Taliban on February 25 in Qatar.