Trump Makes Unscheduled Thanksgiving Visit to Troops in Afghanistan

Trump Makes Unscheduled Thanksgiving Visit to Troops in Afghanistan

Mr Trump, who also met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said the United States was "substantially" reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan, without giving details.

US soldiers react with cheers and applause, as US President Donald Trump arrives in Bagram Air Field, during a surprise Thanksgiving day visit, on November 28, 2019, in Afghanistan. The media was under "strict instructions" to keep the visit under wraps for security reasons, CBS News reports.

President Donald Trump made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan to meet both the country's president and with USA troops, saying that peace talks have resumed with the Taliban amid a push for a cease-fire and to reduce us deployment in the region.

The Pentagon's top brass see a United States contingent, however small, remaining in Afghanistan for "several more years", as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told ABC News earlier this month. About 12,000 USA forces remain in Afghanistan.

"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".

Talks with the Taliban, reported to be close to a deal, ended in September after plans to host the militants at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, fell apart under press criticism once it was realised they would coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

There are about 12,000 troops now serving in Afghanistan in a conflict triggered by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that has claimed more than 2,300 American lives and cost billions in taxpayer dollars.

Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller has already executed a modest reduction in the USA force level to about 13,000, but further withdrawals appear to be on hold for now as diplomats seek a breakthrough in hoped-for peace talks.

Both Trump and Ghani then attended a rally-style event at a nearby hangar for USA troops, and Trump entered to the same song, "Proud to Be an American", he uses at campaign rallies. "When I took office-you're gonna believe it-almost three years ago, we were very depleted", he said.

The president and first lady made a similar trip a year ago to Iraq on Christmas night - their first to an active conflict zone.

President Donald Trump, center, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, behind him at right, while addressing members of the military. And Thanksgiving-themed tweets were teed up to publish ahead of time from Trump's account to prevent suspicions arising about the president's silence.

The president also helped serve Thanksgiving meals to the troops.

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