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Trump hints at new Taliban peace deal in Afghanistan visit

Bernama

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United States (US) President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the Taliban wants to make a peace deal during a surprise visit to Afghanistan to celebrate Thanksgiving with American troops, Anadolu Agency reported, quoting The New York Times.

"The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we’re meeting with them," Trump (photo) said in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart President Ashraf Ghani during his visit at the Bagram Airfield.

"The Taliban wants to make a deal - we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do, they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That’s fine," he added.

Early September, Trump declared that peace talks with the Taliban was 'dead' following a recent attack in Afghanistan's capital Kabul which killed a dozen people, including a US service member.

Following the US move, the Taliban opened new battlefronts across the war-weary nation, as Afghan security forces, suffering casualties and desertions, struggle to beat back a revitalised insurgency.

Addressing the US soldiers deployed in Afghanistan for the nation’s longest-running war, Trump thanked them for their service.

"There's nowhere I'd rather spend Thanksgiving than with the toughest, fiercest warriors.

"I'm here to say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you very much. As president of the United States, I have no higher honour than serving as commander-in-chief," he said during his stay at the largest US base in Afghanistan.

"We will continue to work tirelessly for the day when all of you can go home to your families, and that day is coming very soon," he added.

Trump was accompanied by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere and senator John Barrasso.

The unannounced trip marks the president’s first trip to Afghanistan and his second to a conflict zone, after last year's visit to Iraq a day after Christmas.

Last year, Trump spoke with troops in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving over a phone call.

Bernama

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