President Trump is stirring up some confusion.
Neither the Taliban nor the Afghan government indicated the sides were close to a cease-fire agreement, despite Trump's assertion while visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan for Thanksgiving on Thursday that the Taliban was ready to strike a deal. "They didn't want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to a do a cease-fire," he said. "It will probably work out that way."
Neither side seemed to mind the president's optimism, they just don't consider it an accurate assessment of where things stand.
"We are ready to talk, but we have the same stance to resume the talks from where it was suspended," the Taliban said in a statement in response to Trump's announcement. Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban's negotiating team, said it was up to the U.S. to come back to the table if they want to re-engage.
Talks between Washington and the Taliban sputtered in September without any formal conclusion. Sediq Seddiqi, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, said "it is too early to comment on any changes or any perceived changes" in negotiations, though the government reportedly appreciated Trump's visit. Read more at The Washington Post and The New York Times.
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