US President Donald Trump has issued an unambiguous directive that the number of US troops deployed to Afghanistan must be reduced before the 2020 presidential elections, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on Monday.

“That’s my directive from the president of the United States. He’s been unambiguous: End the endless wars, draw down, reduce”, Pompeo said in an interview with Economic Club of Washington President David Rubenstein. “It won’t just be us. Resolute Support has countries from all across Europe and around the world”.

Pompeo also said he was optimistic that US negotiations with the Taliban, the Afghan government and opposition groups inside Afghanistan will result in a peace agreement to end the war, which is now in its eighteenth year.

“We want them [the Afghanis] to take their country back, and we want to reduce what is, for us, tens of billions of dollars a year in expenditures and enormous risk to your kids and your grandkids who are fighting for America”, Pompeo said.

“We think there’s a path to reduce violence, achieve reconciliation and still make sure that the American counterterrorism effort in Afghanistan has a value and the potential to reduce risk here in the [United] States”.

In February, the New York Times reported that a new Defence Department proposal for the peace talks with the Taliban called for all US troops - about 14,000 - to be withdrawn in the next three to five years along with the rest of the international force.

Afghanistan is suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of the Taliban movement and Daesh. The national security forces, supported by the international coalition, are involved in counterterrorism operations across the country.