Nov. 28 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said he has reopened talks with the Taliban Thursday during a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan.
Trump told troops at Bagram Air Base that “the Taliban wants to make a deal. We’ll see if they want to make a deal. It’s got to be a real deal, but we’ll see. But they want to make a deal,” CNN reported.
Ashrav Ghani, who held a bilateral meeting with the President after his arrival, also addressed troops Thursday, per public pool reports.
“I’d like to thank you for your leadership, for your determination,” Ghani said, thanking Trump for “your 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.”
The trip marks the President’s first ever visit to Afghanistan and the second to a combat zone since taking office. Last December he visited troops in Iraq, after which lawmakers immediately demanded U.S. troops leave the country.
About 13,000 U.S. personnel are still stationed in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist local forces in conjunction with NATO and to conduct counterterrorism operations.
The war in Afghanistan has claimed 147,000 lives since 2001, including 40,000 civilians.