US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he wants to get out of Afghanistan "as quickly as he can" and reiterated that the US should not have been in these wars.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is currently holding talks with the Taliban to work out an agreement and end the war.
"We'll continue to (pull out troops from Afghanistan). Well, we're going to see. We're working on negotiating a deal right now, as you probably have heard, and you know, at some point, we want to get out as quickly as we can," Trump told C-Span in an interview.
This comes as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backtracked on comments suggesting a massive US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan before the 2020 election, flatly stating “there is no deadline” for the end of the American mission there, according to the Military Times report.
In response to reporters’ questions en route to a diplomatic trip to Thailand, Pompeo criticized the press for misinterpreting his earlier answers for when the nearly 18-year-old military conflict will come to a close.
“They got it wrong,” he said. “The president has been very direct about his expectations that we will reduce our operational footprint on the ground in Afghanistan just as quickly as we can get there. I hope they’re out not only before the next election but before we land today.”
A day earlier, during an appearance at the Economic Club of Washington, in response to a question about US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pompeo said “that's my directive from the president of the United States. He's been unambiguous. End the endless wars, draw down, reduce.”
He also added that “it's not only my expectation, it would be job enhancing.”
This comes as the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is about to hold another round of talks with the Taliban in which troop withdrawal is a key part.
“In Doha, if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on,” Khalilzad said in a tweet on Wednesday.