Obama Arrives In Afghanistan On Bin Laden Death Anniversary
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Afghanistan on a secret trip to mark the first anniversary of the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Obama is expected to sign a strategic partnership agreement setting conditions for a U.S. presence there after a 2014 deadline for the withdrawal of most NATO combat forces.
The president arrived at Bagram Air Base late Tuesday and immediately flew by helicopter to the Afghan capital, Kabul. He is meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his palace and will later give remarks to U.S. troops at Bagram.
From Bagram, he also plans to deliver a live, televised address to the American people about the Afghanistan war at 7:30 p.m. EDT (2330 GMT).
The president’s speech will focus on the strategic partnership agreement and is likely to emphasize his plans to wind down the costly and unpopular Afghanistan war where nearly 3,000 U.S. and NATO soldiers have died since the country was invaded in 2001.
The address will come exactly one year after U.S. special forces, on his order, began the raid that led to the killing of bin Laden at his Pakistani safehouse.
Since then, ties between the United States and Afghanistan have frayed due to the burning of Muslim holy books at a U.S. base and the massacre of 17 civilians, including children, allegedly by an American soldier.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to be on the ground in Afghanistan for about seven hours.