BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Nov 28 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump made a shock Thanksgiving go to to U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thursday and stated he believed Taliban insurgents would conform to a ceasefire in America’s longest warfare.
By Humeyra Pamuk and Idrees Ali
Trump’s go to was his first to Afghanistan since changing into president and got here per week after a prisoner swap between Washington and Kabul that has raised hopes for an extended elusive peace deal.
“The Taliban desires to make a deal and we’re assembly with them,” Trump instructed reporters after arriving in Afghanistan after an in a single day flight from the USA, saved secret for safety causes.
“We are saying it needs to be a ceasefire they usually didn’t need to do a ceasefire and now they need to do a ceasefire, I consider. It can in all probability work out that method.”
Taliban leaders have instructed Reuters that the group has once more been holding conferences with senior U.S. officers in Doha since final weekend, including they may quickly resume formal peace talks.
The Air Power One presidential airplane touched down at Bagram Airfield late within the night on Thursday, with White Home nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien, a small group of aides and Secret Service brokers. Two surveillance blimps flew overhead.
Trump met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and served turkey to some U.S. troops earlier than sitting all the way down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. He chatted and had his image taken with a few of the U.S. forces deployed there.
“What a terrific job you do. It’s an honor to be right here,” he stated.
RARE WAR ZONE VISIT
It was solely the second journey to a warfare zone by a U.S. president who by no means served within the navy and has usually derided U.S. engagement in overseas conflicts as expensive blunders. He traveled to Iraq in 2018 for a Christmas vacation go to with troops.
Trump was greeted upon his arrival by U.S. Military Basic Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees. Milley stated on Wednesday profitable end result from peace talks on ending the 18-year warfare in Afghanistan might occur within the “close to time period.”
Trump has wished to finish U.S. involvement in Afghanistan since his days as a presidential candidate.
However talks between the Taliban and the USA collapsed in September after Trump referred to as off a deliberate assembly with Taliban leaders on the U.S. Camp David presidential retreat, citing a surge in Taliban violence.
The U.S. navy says it has ramped up strikes and raids on the Taliban since then, in a bid to stress the insurgents again to the negotiating desk.
Hopes for peace rose earlier this month, when the Taliban launched American and Australian hostages.
However Ghani underscored the necessity for a halt within the preventing, saying on Twitter after assembly Trump: “If the Taliban are honest of their dedication to reaching a peace deal, they have to settle for a ceasefire.”
TRUMP EYES DEAL ‘OR TOTAL VICTORY’
There are at the moment about 13,000 U.S. forces in addition to hundreds of different NATO troops in Afghanistan, 18 years after an invasion by a U.S.-led coalition following the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda assaults on the USA.
About 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in the midst of the Afghan battle.
A draft accord agreed in September would have hundreds of American troops withdrawn in alternate for ensures that Afghanistan wouldn’t be used as a base for militant assaults on the USA or its allies.
Nonetheless, many U.S. officers doubt the Taliban may very well be relied upon to stop al Qaeda from once more plotting assaults in opposition to the USA from Afghan soil.
The U.S. navy has stated it could actually go down to eight,600 troops and nonetheless perform a vital counter-terrorism mission in a rustic the place each al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters would proceed to pose a menace even after any Taliban peace deal.
Trump acknowledged U.S. troop ranges have been “considerably” coming down however didn’t present a selected quantity.
On the similar time, nevertheless, Trump recommended he was keen to have U.S. forces keep in Afghanistan for the long-term, if wanted.
“We’re going to remain till such time as we’ve got a deal or we’ve got complete victory. And so they need to make a deal very badly,” Trump stated. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Idrees Ali; Writing by Phil Stewart; Modifying by Alistair Bell and Daniel Wallis)