Taliban

Trump may reduce troops in Afghanistan without Taliban deal

Taliban leaders during peace talks with the U.S. in July in Qatar. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images
Taliban leaders during peace talks with the U.S. in July in Qatar. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images.

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien told Axios in an exclusive interview that "it is possible" Trump will cut a deal with the Taliban this year but that even if a deal can't be struck, the president is still poised to reduce troops in Afghanistan.

Driving the news: "We're back in a situation where we're in talks with the Taliban," O'Brien said. "The Afghan forces are doing better, and I think we'll be in a position at some point soon, whether it's with a deal or without a deal, to reduce our military footprint in Afghanistan."

Two U.S. service members killed in roadside explosion in Afghanistan

President Trump with American soldiers in Afghanistan
President Trump with American soldiers in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving 2019. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a roadside bomb that killed two U.S. service members and wounded two others on Saturday in southern Afghanistan, AP reports, citing a statement from the U.S. military and Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman.

Why it matters: More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11 attacks, AP writes. 23 U.S. soldiers died in 2019, making it the deadliest year for American service members since the U.S. amid attempted peace talks with the Taliban. The group now holds power over nearly half of Afghanistan.

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