Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Kabul Friday to meet with his commanders to discuss a “resurgent” Taliban two days after President Obama announced he would keep thousands of additional troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in January, reversing a previous decision.

“We see close ties between the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Haqqani (and) a variety of organizations in Afghanistan,” Gen. Votel told reporters from four media outlets traveling with him, including Fox News.

“They have been resurgent. They have developed stronger alliances…and that’s a concern for us,” said Votel.

The administration had planned to cut nearly half the 10,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year.  The new plans call for 8,448 to remain following the president’s announcement Wednesday.

Despite the planned troop reductions and Taliban gains, Gen. Votel says the military will be able to continue its counterterrorism and training of Afghan forces unabated.

“I don’t think the reductions that we are taking are going to impact the principle missions that we are doing,” he said.

This is Gen. Votel’s fifth trip to the region since assuming command on March 31. As head of Central Command, Votel is responsible for military operations stretching from Egypt to Pakistan, including the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

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