Trump’s surprise visit to Afghanistan to inspect US soldiers for Thanksgiving

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — US President Donald Trump arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday for an unannounced Thanksgiving visit with US soldiers at Bagram Air Base near Kabul.

During the visit, which is supposed to last about two and a half hours, he presented the turkey to the soldiers in the al-Qaeda canteen, took pictures with them and delivered a speech in the garage of the base and met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Some 13,000 US troops are still deployed in Afghanistan, 18 years after a US invasion in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Trump said the United States had resumed talks with the Taliban insurgency. He told reporters that “the Taliban want to conclude an agreement and we meet with them and say that there must be a ceasefire and they did not want a ceasefire, and now they want a ceasefire.”

Earlier this year, the United States reached an agreement with insurgents that would allow the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and turn the page on the longest US war in return for security guarantees.

But Trump abruptly halted the year-long talks in September, saying they were “dead” and backed away from a rebel call for a meeting near Washington following the killing of a US soldier.

The Taliban have refused to formally negotiate with the Afghan government, but diplomatic efforts are continuing to hold a dialogue and eventually pave the way for a peace deal.

In Washington, Trump’s relationship with the US military leadership is strained by his repeated involvement in military disciplinary cases.

On November 15, Trump, the commander of the US armed forces, canceled the demotion of a navy from the Naval Seals elite Edward Gallagher, who was charged with war crimes but convicted of inferior crimes.

Trump said Gallagher was “treated very badly” by the Navy and ordered not to be expelled from this elite force.

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