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President Obama Makes Surprise Memorial Day Trip To Afghanistan

Submitted by on May 25, 2014 – 1:25 pmOne Comment
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REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST

President Barack Obama made an unannounced trip to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan on Sunday, visiting with troops the day before Memorial Day.

Air Force One left Washington after dark on Saturday, landing in Afghanistan on Sunday Night (local time). As with previous trips to the country, this one was kept secret until the president arrived; reporters were sworn to secrecy. This was Obama’s fourth trip to Afghanistan, but his first since re-election in 2012.

The administration reports that Afghan president Hamid Karzai was told at some point of Obama’s visit, but no plans were made for the two to meet. The heads of state have a tumultuous relationship, and Karzai has refused to sign a bilateral agreement for some US troops to remain in the country after the withdrawal is complete at the end of this year.

Over 2,000 American troops have been killed and many more wounded in the 13-year conflict, the longest in the nation’s history. Over 100,000 troops were in Afghanistan at the peak of the surge; now, about 33,000 remain.

The president was accompanied by advisers, including John Podesta, whose son is serving in Afghanistan; country singer Brad Paisley was also there, to perform for the troops.

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