From: Anita Kumar
Date: November 28, 2019 at 2:11:16 PM EST
Subject: Foreign pool report #4/Ghani bilat
Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan
November 28, 2019
9:48 pm POTUS and Ghani met at Air Force headquarters at Bagram Air Field.
Pool was brought in for a 10-minute spray at the bottom of the meeting.
"The Taliban wants to make a deal — we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That's fine."
“"Well as you know for a period of time we've been wanting to make a deal. And so did the Taliban and we’ve pulled back. We were getting close — and we pulled back because of what they did.”
“It was not a good thing they did with killing the soldier"
"An American soldier ‚ from Puerto Rico"
"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 Talbian wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has s to be a cease fire and they didn’t want to do a Cease Fire and now they do want to do a cease fire. I believe it’ll probably work out that way."
“As you know, for a period of time we’ve been working to make a deal.”
“We’ve made tremendous progress over the last six months.”
“We’ve made tremendous progress and at the same time we’ve been drawing down our troops.”
POTUS said even with a reduced number of troops there has been progress in drawing down ISIS and al-Qaeda.
POTUS called on Ghani to say a few words. He thanked the Americans who have made the “ultimate sacrifice” in Afghanistan
He noted that American casualties in Afghanistan are way down under Trump's presidency.
"Afghan security forces are taking the lead now," he said.
Ghani to Trump: "I'd like to thank you for your leadership, for your determination" and thanked him for "your very principled decisions regarding putting limits on the type of peace that will ensure the gains of the past year and ensure your security and our security."
POTUS confirmed that he hopes to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 8,600. The U.S. currently has less than 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, but military officials would not confirm the exact number.
The two presidents were sitting in chairs at one end of the room. Four alternating U.S. and Afghani flags were behind the two leaders. The two shooks hands after the remarks.
Four officials were seated on the Afghan side. Eight officials were seated on the U.S. side, including John Bass, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Barrasso, Mulvaney, O’Brien, Milley and Scott Miller, commander of the U.S. coalition forces. POTUS called on Milley and Miller to speak.
Ghani was notified of the president’s arrival a few hours before arrival, according to Deere, and accepted the invitation to meet with POTUS. Their bilat began approximately 9:45pm local.
Thanks to co-pooler Michael Crowley of the New York Times.
White House Correspondent & Associate Editor