President Trump makes surprise Thanksgiving visit to US troops in Afghanistan
President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday to visit American troops for Thanksgiving.
The trip, his first to the country, comes almost a year after the president made a surprise visit to troops stationed in Iraq, his first to a combat zone since he took office.
During a visit that lasted two-and-a-half hours, President Trump served turkey to troops at the base near Kabul and sat down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them.
He then posed for photographs and addressed the troops, in a trip that was shrouded in secrecy for security reasons.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Trump said he had restarted peace talks with the Taliban.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them,” he said. “We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly.”
Some 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan in what has become America’s longest war, 18 years after the US intervention to oust the Taliban after the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Trump did not give exact numbers but said he was proceeding with a plan to cut troop levels to about 8,600.
Talks with the Taliban collapsed in September after President Trump had invited senior Taliban terrorists and President Ghani to meet at the US presidential retreat of Camp David, near Washington DC.
“We’re meeting with them [Taliban] and we say it has to be a ceasefire and they didn’t want to do a ceasefire and now they want to do a ceasefire, I believe,” Trump said. “It will probably work out that way.”