The AP is reporting that President Obama took a secret trip to Afghanistan to see American troops. He landed at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.
From the White House Press Pool:
(Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan) President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan for a Memorial Day weekend rally with US troops.
Air Force One touched down at Bagram Airfield under cover of darkness Sunday, having quietly left the Washington area Saturday night.
Obama is expected to get an on-site briefing from his military commanders and visit wounded servicemembers at a hospital on the base.
The centerpiece of the trip is a rally with some of the 32,000 Americans who are currently serving in Afghanistan–a war the president is committed to winding down by year’s end. A performance by country music star Brad Paisley, who traveled with the president, will set the tone for the event, expected to be long on thanks for the troops and short on foreign policy pronouncements.
The show of support for men and women in uniform comes as Obama is trying to tamp down criticism at home over the treatment of veterans seeking care at VA hospitals. In his weekly address Saturday, the president said the nation must work harder to ensure that military veterans get the benefits they’ve earned. “They’ve done their duty,” he said, “and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours.”
On Wednesday, Obama is set to deliver the commencement address at the US Military Academy at West Point. That’s the setting where in 2009 he announced a troop surge that pushed US force levels in Afghanistan to a peak of 100,000, while also setting a timetable for withdrawal. The president now has to decide whether any US troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, with the limited mission of supporting Afghan forces and battling terrorists. Any such residual force is contingent on agreement from the next Afghan president.
Bagram Air Field Via – Stephen Collinson AFP White House Correspondent
President Barack Obama landed in Afghanistan at 8.17 pm on Sunday on a surprise visit after slipping out of the White House unannounced after dark on Saturday.
Pool has connection problems
White House Press Corps Twitter Feed:
Just landed in Afghanistan with Obama on secret Memorial Day visit to meet with US troops
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) May 25, 2014
President's Afghan visit comes as U.S. and NATO withdraw most forces ahead of 12/31 deadline. President seeking to keep small force behind
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) May 25, 2014
— Don Gonyea NPR (@DonGonyea) May 25, 2014
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) May 25, 2014
About to play a surprise concert for the troops in Afghanistan. God bless our military. Here we go.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) May 25, 2014
Afghanistan Memorial Weekend Visit – Today Obama will also visit wounded troops in the military hospital during short visit. @JCBua
— Jon-Christopher Bua (@JCBua) May 25, 2014
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) May 25, 2014
Super secret PR Photo-op to prove he cares about the troops serving in Afghanistan – Monday, Obama lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns and then will visit West Point. No Political strategy there.. its election. What do you bet that the Marine who is imprisoned in Mexico is released tomorrow. year don’t cha know