President of Unite Stated Donald Trump has made an unannounced visit to American troops in Afghanistan on the occassion of thanksgiving .
Trump’s visit was his first to Afghanistan since becoming president and came a week after a prisoner swap between Washington and Kabul that has raised hopes for a long elusive peace deal.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them,” Trump said in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart President Ashraf Ghani during his visit at the Bagram Airfield
“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. It will probably work out that way,” he added.
Addressing the U.S. soldiers deployed in Afghanistan for the nation’s longest-running war, Trump thanked them for their service.
“There’s nowhere I’d rather spend Thanksgiving than with the toughest, fiercest warriors.
Mr Trump also reaffirmed his plan to cut troop levels to about 8,600 but did not say how many personnel would leave or when. “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.”
The Air Force One presidential plane touched down at Bagram Airfield late in the evening on Thursday, with White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, a small group of aides and Secret Service agents. Two surveillance blimps flew overhead.
Trump met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and served turkey to some US troops before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. He chatted and had his picture taken with some of the US forces deployed there.
President Ghani thanked the US troops who have made the “ultimate sacrifice” in Afghanistan, saying: “Afghan security forces are taking the lead now.”
Reacting to the meeting on Twitter later, Mr Ghani did not mention Mr Trump’s comments about talks with the Taliban and said: “Both sides underscored that if the Taliban are sincere in their commitment to reaching a peace deal, they must accept a ceasefire.”
There was no immediate reaction from the Taliban, and many have previously raised questions over the group’s willingness to engage in serious negotiations or whether it can be trusted.