Obama in Afghanistan
December 3rd, 2010
11:01 AM ET

Obama in Afghanistan

[Update 1:59 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Friday, personally delivering holiday greetings to U.S. troops stationed there and promising continued full support in the war against Taliban and other extremists. More on Obama's visit and his scheduled meeting with Karzai

Watch an excerpt from the speech:

Or read a recap of the speech as it was happening:
[Update 1:28 p.m. ET] Obama wraps up his address to the troops.

[Update 1:26 p.m. ET] Obama cites the story Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the recent recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan.

[Update 1:23 p.m. ET] Although Americans have their differences, Obama says, there is no hesitation back home "to give support to our men and women in the military service ... We're going to spare no effort to make sure your families have support as well."

[Update 1:19 p.m. ET] Obama acknowledges the U.S. war casualties in Afghanistan: "We know their memories will never be forgotten," he says, but because of their sacrifice, "We look forward to a new phase next year, a transition to Afghan responsibility."

[Update 1:14 p.m. ET] Obama says that as president, "I have no greater responsibility than keeping the American people secure.  I could not do that ... without the extraordinary service each and every one of you perform each and every day. ... We are here to say thank you.  I also want to say thank you to your families back home."

[Update 1:09 p.m. ET] President Obama begins to address the troops at Bagram, saying "I want to make sure I could spend a little time this holiday with the men and women of the finest fighting force the world has ever known." WATCH LIVE

[Original post] U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan on Friday on a surprise visit to U.S. troops.

The president, who is expected to remain on the ground there for roughly three hours, is slated to address troops at Bagram Airfield. Most of the troops are with the Army's 101st Airborne Division. Representation from components of all services will also be in attendance.

He will also visit wounded troops at a hospital on the base, according to reporters traveling with Obama. The president will meet with a total of eight patients - five soldiers and three civilian contractors. He will award four Purple Hearts.

Obama was originally scheduled to travel to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and greet U.S. embassy staffers, but will stay at Bagram because of poor weather conditions. Obama will, however, speak to Karzai via secure videoconference. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will also participate in the meeting.

It is unclear if revelations about U.S. concerns with the Karzai government recently publicized by the group WikiLeaks will be discussed.

Almost a year ago, on December 1, 2009, Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan that would see some forces coming home as soon as July 2011. Officials have said the goal is to end combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014. A major U.S. military review of the war in Afghanistan is due this month.

Obama has made surprise visits to Afghanistan in the past. Once, earlier this year in March, he slipped into Bagram near Kabul under the cover of darkness. He met with about 2,000 troops at the U.S. base and told them their work is significant to security at home.

His first trip to Afghanistan came in July 2008, months ahead of the presidential election.

Filed under: Obama • Troops
soundoff (540 Responses)
  1. anand

    i will say some thing
    Savings Account Rate

    January 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. make your boobs bigger

    I hadn't noticed afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com before in my searches!
    I’ve been looking around on the web trying to get some ideas on how to get my personal website coded, your overall layout and style are excellent. Did you actually code it yourself or did you hire a programmer to do it on your behalf?

    December 15, 2010 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. fanta

    The BEST Season's gift Obama could give is to bring the troops home for xmas before more of them waste thier precious lives in those unwinnable wars !

    December 14, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. pjb12345

    Obama’s “field trip” to Afghanistan was pointless and unproductive. He had a few different objectives for this trip, each with a questionable importance. The holiday greeting he gave to the troops was great, but was it worth flying to Afghanistan? Also, he promised his troops “continued full support,” but failed to mention exactly what that meant. In reality that could mean the deployment of more troops to Afghanistan and that is the last thing we need. We have enough soldiers dying for a lost cause. Another reason he made the trip was to meet with President Hamid Karzai. However, he didn’t end up seeing him because of bad weather. Now maybe it’s just me, but if I flew thousands of miles to see someone who is on that level of importance, I would wait for the weather to clear up. Obama did skype with him though, for fifteen minutes. This also makes me wonder how important this meeting could have really been if they only talked to fifteen minutes on a video chat. Karzai was noted saying he wanted fewer troops in his country and that their presence was intrusive. Obama should absolutely listen to this and bring as many troops home as possible. A major U.S. military review of the war is due this month and it will be interesting to see the outcome of that, and whether or not Obama decides to deploy even more troops. It was also noted that the goal was to end combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014, and it the rate we are moving I don’t see that happening.

    December 9, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
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