There have been no orders from the Donald Trump administration to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday as he arrived in the war-torn South Asian country on an unannounced visit.
On his first trip to Afghanistan since assuming office after the resignation of James Mattis in December, Shanahan said he didn't receive any orders like that, Efe news reported. The withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is one of the Taliban's key demands in peace negotiations with US officials.
His remarks were in contrast to the US President's stance, who had earlier made clear his desire to bring an end to the 17-year Afghan conflict and withdraw the vast bulk of American forces.
"Afghans must control their own future and be involved in ongoing peace discussions and there are no orders to reduce US troop levels in Afghanistan," Shanahan said, according to Colonel Dave Butler, a spokesman for Resolute Support, the NATO training mission in Afghanistan.