(28 Nov 2019) US President Donald Trump on Thursday lauded the recent special operations mission that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, but criticized European allies for not taking back captured Islamic State fighters who originally came from Europe.
“They executed a masterful raid and they punched his ticket to hell,” Trump said, speaking to US troops during a surprise visit to Afghanistan.
“We have thousands of prisoners. We’d like Europe to take those prisoners. They have not stepped up to the plate at all,” said Trump.
During his visit, Trump said the US and Taliban have been engaged in peace talks and insisted the Taliban want to make a deal after heavy US fire in recent months.
It was not immediately clear how long or substantive the US reengagement with the Taliban has been.
He also defended his decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria and allow Turkish troops to move into the region weeks ago to create a buffer zone.
“Shortly after we got Baghdadi, we focused on some other elements in the area and we also started leaving the area because it’s secure,” Trump said.
“But we didn’t leave it totally. We kept the oil. Makes sense, right? I’ve been saying for a long time, keep the oil.”
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