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Obama "surprise" visit

May 25, 2014

US President Barack Obama has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. He traveled to the main US base in the country to thank forces as they prepare to withdraw after nearly 13 years of war.

Obama Überraschungsbesuch in Afghanistan 25.05.201
Image: Reuters

US President Barack Obama "secretly" landed at the Bagram Air Field late Sunday, the main US base in Afghanistan.

Obama was scheduled to spend a few hours at the base. It's reported he had no plans to travel to the capital, Kabul, to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The surprise visit came as the US and NATO withdraw most of their forces ahead of a year-end deadline.

Obama is seeking to maintain a small number of US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to train Afghan security forces and conduct counter-terrorism missions.

However, the plan is dependent on Karzai's successor signing a bilateral security agreement, something which the Afghan president has refused to authorize.

Obama was expected to be briefed by US commanders, speak to troops at Bagram and also visit the hospital on the base.

It was Obama's fourth trip to Afghanistan as president, but his first since winning re-election in 2012.

More than 2,100 US troops died in the near 13-year Afghan war and thousands more were wounded.

lw/tj (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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