U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan where he declared that he had reopened talks with the Taliban militant group.
Arriving at Bagram Airfield at around 08:30 p.m. local time, President Trump spent more than two and half hours delivering Thanksgiving greetings to U.S. forces, serving them turkey and meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Bagram, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
During his meeting with President Ghani, Mr. Trump announced that he had restarted peace talks with Taliban that he called off almost three month ago.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire and they didn’t want to do a cease-fire, and now they do want to do a cease-fire,” Trump said. “I believe it’ll probably work out that way.”
President Trump also said that the U.S. was “substantially” reducing troop numbers.
“We’ve made tremendous progress and at the same time we’ve been drawing down our troops,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in his remarks at Bagram Airfield thanked U.S troops for their “ultimate sacrifices” and praised Trump’s South Asia strategy for “wiping out ISIS and Al Qaeda.”
He also expressed appreciations to Trump for his “very principled decisions regarding putting limits on the type of peace that will ensure the gains of the past year and ensure your security and our security.”
President Trump’s sudden announcement on peace talks comes about three months after he “called off” the peace negotiations with the Taliban leaders after the group carried out an attack in Kabul in which one American and 11 others were killed.
Last week, three prisoners of the insurgent group were exchanged for two western professors as an effort to revive the negotiations with the Taliban.