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Entries in Troops (22)

Friday
Dec032010

Obama Rallies Troops in Afghanistan: We're 'Tired of Playing Defense'

Getty Images(BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan) -- One year and two days after President Obama appeared before an audience at West Point and told the nation he was sending 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, he has come to meet with troops in the war-torn country for his second visit as commander-in-chief.

In a pep talk to troops at the Bagram Air Base, Obama praised their work and expressed cautious optimism about the future.

"You are protecting your country. You are achieving your objective. You will succeed in your mission," a casually dressed Obama said to 3,850 troops in the audience. "We said we were going to break the Taliban's momentum, and that's what you're doing. You're going on the offense, tired of playing defense."

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.

There are more than 1,000 U.S. government civilian employees here, from the State Department, USAID and nine other agencies, a tripling since the president announced his new policy one year ago.

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 president Friday met with eight wounded patients at Bagram -- five troops and three civilians -- and presented four Purple Heart awards. He also met with troops from the 101st Airborne Division.

The president also met with the unit that lost six soldiers earlier this week when an Afghan border police officer went on a shooting spree in Nangarhar province. The unit these soldiers were with had only 18 men, so one third of them were wiped out "in five seconds," a senior officer told Raddatz.

The trip was shrouded in secrecy for security reasons, with the reporters who accompanied the president not permitted to announce his presence here until after the president landed.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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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