Obama surprises Afghanistan

US president says his administration will likely announce soon how many troops the US will keep in Afghanistan.


Reuters May 26, 2014
US President Barack Obama. PHOTO: AFP

BAGRAM AIR BASE: President Barack Obama said on Sunday his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the US will keep in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram airbase, Obama said one of the reasons for his visit was to discuss the US footprint for the rest of this year and afterward.

“We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly,” said Obama, who flew into Bagram for a brief, surprise visit.

At Bagram, Obama was briefed by Army Gen Joseph Dunford and US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham.

Obama had no plans to visit Kabul or meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other government officials during a trip expected to last only a few hours.

This allows him to avoid getting immersed in the country’s presidential election campaign to choose a successor to Karzai, who has long been out of favour in Washington.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said Karzai was to have been informed about the visit shortly before Obama’s arrival.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2014.

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