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Friday
Dec032010

President Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan) -- President Obama arrived in Afghanistan Friday for an unannounced visit with American troops.

The president's visit comes as his administration nears completion of a strategic review of the nine-year war and as diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks express concern about corruption in the government of Hamid Karzai.

The trip is Barack Obama's third trip to the country, and his second as president.

The president was originally scheduled to have a "working dinner" with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at his presidential palace in Kabul in this unannounced visit, and to meet with civilian personnel at the U.S. Embassy in the capital city. But strong winds and low cloud cover made helicopter travel hazardous, so in the last few hours of the president's trip to Bagram on Air Force One, the Kabul part of the visit was scrapped.

The principal reason for the trip is for the president to thank U.S. troops for their service during the holiday season, National Security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling on Air Force One. "It's a tough time" for troops since they're away from their loved ones.

The president will meet with eight wounded patients at Bagram -- five troops and three civilians -- and present four Purple Heart awards. He will also meet with troops from the 101st Airborne Division, which is in the midst of its fourth combat deployment since 2003, having served two tours in Iraq and one previous 15 month rotation from 2008 through 2009.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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