US President Donald Trump loves to spring surprises. On Thanksgiving eve, he suddenly left his Mar-a-Lago estate with a team of a few aides and flew to afghanistan. It was a sixteen-hour journey and the second time he visited a war zone. The earlier occasion was last year when he made a similar sudden visit to Iraq on Christmas Eve. Reporters from the press pool traveled with the President. They were granted authority to report on the visit, but it was just prior to the return trip of Air Force One to Florida.

Everyone had to surrender the cell phones and other electronic devices before takeoff. The occupants had no idea of their destination until a couple of hours before landing in Afghanistan.

CNN says White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was a part of the team. She said - "It's a dangerous area and he wants to support the troops." She went on to explain that the POTUS and First Lady wanted to surprise the US troops stationed in a remote place like Afghanistan, far away from their families. Lot of planning went into this visit and the organizers had taken only a few persons into confidence.

It was a top secret mission

This was President Donald Trump’s first visit to Afghanistan and only his second one to a war zone. The previous occasion was a secretive trip to Iraq for Christmas last year. However, that time his cover blew before he reached his destination.

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That was because some enthusiastic plane spotters in the UK recognized the unmistakable Air Force One in the clear skies and shared it on the social media.

CNN goes on to add that President Trump arrived at the Bagram base in time to serve Thanksgiving dinner to a section of the soldiers. The organizers arranged to beam live Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as they ate.

Trump met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

According to BBC, the president went unannounced to Afghanistan where he met US troops positioned there. He served turkey to soldiers, and posed for photographs. In the course of a speech to troops, he said talks are on with the Taliban, and dropped hints that it "wants to make a deal." He also indicated that the US was reducing the number of troops. Even now, nearly 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan and the president says the number could reduce to about 8,600.

However, he did not specify any plan of withdrawal in terms of number and timeframe. President Donald Trump used the visit to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who thanked the US troops who have made the "ultimate sacrifice" in Afghanistan. He added that Afghan security forces are gradually taking the lead.

Incidentally, the visit materialized following a prisoner swap with the Taliban. It released two foreigners held hostage since 2016 in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants. One of the hostages was an American, the other an Australian.

This exchange could be a prelude to the resumption of peace negotiations.

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