Sunday, May 25, 2014

Obama Makes Surprise Visit to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan --- WASHINGTON — President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Sunday to visit American troops there, landing at Bagram Airfield outside the capital, Kabul, for the first time since a visit in 2012 when he signed a strategic partnership agreement with the government there to bring the war to an end. -- The trip was unannounced, and Mr. Obama slipped out of the White House secretly on Saturday evening in advance of what White House officials said would be a Memorial Day rally with the troops. Officials said the president is also expected to get an on-site briefing from his military commanders and visit wounded service members. -- Officials said that Mr. Obama will rally with some of the 32,000 service members who are currently in Afghanistan, many of whom are due to return home at year’s end when the 13-year war is officially brought to an end. -- Brad Paisley, a country music singer, traveled on Air Force One with Mr. Obama to Afghanistan and will perform at the rally on Monday. The president is expected to use the appearance there to offer thanks to the members of the military, but is not expected to make any major policy announcements. -- Instead, Mr. Obama is expected to wait until he returns to the United States to offer his latest foreign policy and national security vision, during a speech that he is scheduled to give at the West Point graduation on Wednesday. --- In 2009, Mr. Obama used a similar setting at West Point to announce a decision to add more troops to the effort in Afghanistan, pushing the total United States presence there past 100,000, while at the same time saying he intended to draw down the effort there over several years. -- Mr. Obama has said that all United States combat troops will have left Afghanistan by the end of this year. But American officials had hoped to leave a small contingent of forces beyond that time for training purposes and to conduct anti terrorism operations. - More, MICHAEL D. SHEAR, NYTimes,


Post a Comment

<< Home