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Trump Surprises US Troops With News About the Taliban

The president arrives at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 28, 2019 1:25 PM CST
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President Donald Trump shakes hands during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to spend time with US troops on Thanksgiving, the AP reports. Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30pm local time and spent more than two-and-a-half hours on the ground. Reporters were under strict instructions to keep the trip a secret to ensure his safety. The visit comes more than two months after Trump abruptly broke off peace talks with the Taliban after a bombing in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier. But Trump announced at the visit that he has resumed peace talks with the Taliban, per the New York Times.

"The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we’re meeting with them," Trump said while meeting with Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani. "We're going to stay until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly." He also reiterated his wish to lower US troop levels from around 12,000 or 13,000 to 8,600. Trump's visit—which included him playing the traditional role of feeding mashed potatoes and turkey to troops—comes at a pivotal moment in his presidency, with the impeachment inquiry moving quickly. The president and first lady made a similar trip last year to Iraq on Christmas night, their first to an active conflict zone. Vice President Mike Pence also visited troops in Iraq this week.
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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