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Trump makes first Afghan trip for Thanksgiving

US President Donald Trump speaks to the troops during a surprise Thanksgiving day visit to Afghanistan Image copyright AFP

US President Donald Trump has made an unannounced visit to American troops in Afghanistan, his first trip to the country since taking office in 2017.

The visit for Thanksgiving comes a week after a prisoner swap with the Taliban aimed at restarting peace talks.

"The Taliban wants to make a deal," Mr Trump told troops at Bagram airbase.

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

Some 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, 18 years after the US invaded the country after the 11 September 2001 attacks, making it America's longest war.

Talks with the Taliban collapsed in September, after President Trump had invited senior Taliban leaders and President Ghani to meet at the US presidential retreat of Camp David, near Washington DC.

"We're meeting with them [Taliban] and 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," Mr Trump said. "It will probably work out that way."

Image caption Mr Trump served turkey to some troops during Thanksgiving celebrations
Image caption And sat down to eat dinner with some of them

Earlier this month, the Taliban freed two Western academics who had been held hostage since 2016 - American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks - in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants.

During a visit that would reportedly last two-and-a-half hours, Mr Trump served turkey to some troops and sat down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them.