Before the first year of his presidency ended, President Barack Obama had shared his administration’s new strategy for the situation in Afghanistan, which included the deployment of more troops. Since then he had hoped to visit the country, but plans have been pushed back a couple of times or so, and has received criticism for not being able to do so, according to a feature on the Wall Street Journal.
Last weekend, however, troops in Afghanistan received an important visitor – the President of the United States. He spoke before two thousand troops at Bagram Air Base on Sunday, where he said: “Here in Afghanistan you’ve gone on the offensive, and the American people back home are noticing… We have seen a huge increase in support.”
The President also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, with whom he discussed issues such as the Karzai administration’s battle against corruption and efforts towards reconciliation with Taliban insurgents.
The visit was kept under wraps for the most part, with security in mind. Afghan President Karzai was informed of President Obama’s visit on Thursday; as far as the rest of the country was concerned, the President was going to spend the weekend with his family in Camp David, Maryland.
Instead, Air Force One headed to Afghanistan from Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday evening. He arrived at Bagram Air Base early Sunday night local time and headed to the Presidential Palace in Kabul by helicopter a little after 8 in the evening. He was met in Afghanistan by Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, and General Stanley McChrystal.