BAGRAM: President Donald Trump stated Thursday the US had resumed talks with Taliban insurgents as he made a shock journey to Afghanistan to have a good time the Thanksgiving vacation with troops.
On a quick go to to Bagram Airfield exterior the capital Kabul, Trump served turkey dinner to troopers, posed for pictures and delivered a speech after assembly Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“The Taliban needs to make a deal and we’re assembly with them and we’re saying it must be a ceasefire,” he informed reporters.
About 13,000 US troops stay in Afghanistan, 18 years after the US invaded following the September 11, 2001 assaults. Trump stated he deliberate to cut back the quantity to eight,600 and later added “we are able to go a lot additional than that,” with out giving particulars.
“There’s nowhere I’d relatively have a good time this Thanksgiving than proper right here with the hardest, strongest, greatest and bravest warriors on the face of the earth,” the president, who was making his first journey to the war-torn nation, informed the troops.
“I’ve simply come from serving Thanksgiving dinner to a few of you… and we had fun.”
Trump joked that he had simply began consuming when he was known as away and didn’t even get to style his turkey.
“I ought to’ve began with that, as a substitute of the mashed potatoes,” he stated.
“However I hope everybody loved the incredible meal, it actually did look good and hopefully everybody can get some well-deserved relaxation this vacation.”
The US earlier this 12 months reached a take care of Taliban insurgents to drag US troops from Afghanistan and wind down America’s longest battle in return for safety ensures.
However Trump made a shock transfer in September, describing the year-long talks as “useless” and withdrawing an invite to the insurgents to satisfy in the US because of the killing of an American soldier.
“We had been getting shut and we pulled again. We didn’t wish to do it due to what they did,” Trump later stated throughout a gathering with Ghani, referring to the loss of life of the soldier.
“Since then, we’ve hit them so laborious, they’ve by no means been hit this tough.”
The Taliban refuse to barter formally with the Afghan authorities, although diplomatic efforts have continued to foster dialogue and an eventual peace deal.
Trump stated Thursday the battle in Afghanistan “won’t be selected the battlefield” and that “in the end there’ll have to be a political answer” determined by individuals within the area.
The US president has usually vowed to drag out of the US’s “countless wars,” and he’s eager to withdraw many troops from Afghanistan forward of the November 2020 election when he faces a troublesome battle to win a second time period.
Afghanistan stays roiled by violence, and US presidents are nonetheless solely capable of make fleeting, unannounced visits to Bagram – the largest American base within the nation – because of the safety risk.
Ghani, who was solely given a number of hours’ discover in regards to the go to, thanked Trump for pushing for “the kind of peace that may make sure the features of the previous 12 months and guarantee your safety and our safety.”
The Taliban final week handed over two hostages – an American and an Australian – after three years in captivity in alternate for 3 high-ranking rebel prisoners, a transfer seen as a lift to peace talks.
Again in Washington, Trump’s relations with the US army management have just lately soured over his repeated interference in high-profile self-discipline circumstances.
Trump reversed the demotion of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher who was accused of battle crimes however solely discovered responsible of a lesser offense.
Gallagher’s trigger had been championed by Fox Information and Trump’s conservative base.
The case drew sharp criticism from the highest brass involved that the president was undermining the army judicial course of.
Trump this month additionally dismissed a homicide conviction in opposition to a soldier who ordered his males to fireside on three unarmed Afghans in 2012.
And he granted clemency to a different soldier charged with homicide over the loss of life of an alleged Taliban bomb maker in 2010.
Earlier than taking the key 13-hour flight to Afghanistan, Trump had been anticipated to spend Thanksgiving at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and to make video calls to US troops deployed overseas