Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) 13 Jan 2020 12:28 -------------------------------------------------- Title : Trump may reduce troops in Afghanistan without Taliban deal -------------------------------------------------- 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. Text : 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." Behind the scenes: Trump has long said he wants to pull American troops out of Afghanistan. A source close to the president told Axios Trump views this as one of his biggest unmet promises. The source worries Trump would order a major drawdown before the 2020 election. Asked whether he thought Trump would strike a deal with the Taliban before the election, O Brien said, "I don t judge things based on when the election s going to take place, but I think it is possible that there ll be a deal this year." "We re working on it. But it has to be a good deal." "We were very close to doing a deal last year, and the Taliban felt that they could increase pressure on the United States by blowing up a bunch of people, including an American, right before some critical end-game talks. This president does not respond to that type of tactic." The bottom line: "The president said there has to be a reduction in violence prior to the signing of a deal and there needs to be a reduction of violence and immediate transition to inter-Afghan talks after a deal," O Brien added. "Ultimately it s going to be up to the Afghans to bring peace to Afghanistan."