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January 25
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The United States will not reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan unilaterally, the top Pentagon official said Thursday, pledging that any moves will be fully coordinated with its allies, AP reported.

“There will be no unilateral troop reductions,” Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan told reporters after his first meeting with NATO defense chiefs. “That was one of the messages: It will be coordinated. We’re together.”

“I think it is very important that the Afghan government as soon as possible becomes fully integrated into the peace process,” Stoltenberg said. “We need the Afghan government playing a key role, because without that, there will be no lasting peace.”

Shanahan made clear that if U.S. troop cuts are made, either in connection with peace negotiations with the Taliban or in other circumstances, Washington will consult with NATO to ensure coordination.

“What we talked about was, how do we double down on support for Afghan national defense and security forces to put even more pressure on the Taliban,” Shanahan said.

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