(TOLO News): US Senator Lindsey Graham at a Kabul press conference on Monday spoke of a possible troop reduction in the next year and offered a suitable remaining force level of “8,600” troops, which he has heard “mentioned.”  “I believe we can responsibly reduce our forces–if the number 8,600 is chosen it’s a good decision, it is not a threat to American national security, to go below that I believe would have to be substantial change—a peace agreement that’s real, that would stand the test of time,” said Graham.  He explained that this number is in accordance with General Miller’s assessment of a force that could maintain a counter-terrorist mission while also shifting more responsibility to Afghan forces. Graham spoke of a “capability dividend,” allowing US forces to be reduced because “Afghan forces are getting more capable.”  Graham also spoke about his personal commitment to maintaining the progress made in Afghanistan since 2001, saying that he would never agree to let women’s rights go “backward”.  “The women of Afghanistan are not going backward. I told President Trump that it would be an event of monumental proportions for the world if after all this fighting and all this sacrifice the women of Afghanistan are taken backward not forward because of a desire to end the war. They will not agree to that and I will never agree to that.” He also said that to abandon Afghanistan’s youth would be a “strategic mistake” for the United States. Asked about Pakistan, he spoke of President Trump’s desire for Pakistan to “up its game” in terms of helping with the peace process, and said: “We all know that if Pakistan applied more pressure on the Taliban it would be enormously helpful to resolving the conflict here.”  Speaking of the Afghan election, Graham said: “In the coming weeks hopefully, we can have a government that the votes will be counted in a fashion that are considered legitimate and that new government can form a negotiating team that’s representative of the Afghan people and that we may enter into a serious discussion with the Taliban to end this war. I hope that can happen,” he said.