President Donald Trump declared on Thanksgiving Day that U.S. peace negotiations with the Taliban have resumed after the talks collapsed in September.
Trump made the sudden announcement during a secret trip to Afghanistan, his first visit to the war-torn country, to meet with American troops and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we’re meeting with them,” Trump said, according to the New York Times. “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.”
The President gave few other details of the negotiations apparently underway.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham had told the Times Trump’s unannounced trip was “nothing about the peace process,” merely “Thanksgiving and supporting the troops.”
Several months ago, Trump shocked lawmakers on both sides of the aisle when he announced that he had secretly extended, then cancelled, an invitation to Taliban leaders to hammer out peace negotiations at Camp David.
Republicans, including House Republican leader Liz Cheney (R-WY), slammed Trump’s planned meeting.
“Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11,” Cheney tweeted. “No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever.”
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