Pence Makes Surprise Christmas Visit To Afghanistan

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise Thursday visit to Afghanistan to conduct war related meetings and greet U.S. troops in the country.


“I look forward to being with our military tonight and an opportunity to extend to them the gratitude of the American people,” Pence told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, according to the travel pool. “We believe that we are now on a path to achieve a lasting victory for freedom and security in Afghanistan,” he added.

Pence then conducted meetings with Ghani and Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah regarding President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan. The U.S. will adopt a conditions — not timeline-based — approach in Afghanistan, with an overall strategy to push Taliban militants to the negotiating table with the Afghan national government, Trump declared in an Aug. 21 address. The Taliban, however, have little reason to negotiate after banner years in the Afghan war. The group controls more territory than at any time since the U.S. invasion in 2001, along with nearly one-third of the Afghan population.

After the meeting Pence delivered a speech to U.S. troops. “You are heroes … You are the best of us … The armed forces of the United States are the world’s greatest force for good,” he declared, passing along a message from Trump. “Tell them I love them,” Pence relayed on behalf of Trump.


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