President Obama secretly slipped into Afghanistan under the cover of darkness today for a weekend visit with US troops serving in the closing months of America's longest war. Air Force One landed at Bagram Air Field, the main US base in Afghanistan, after an overnight flight from Washington. Obama was scheduled to spend just a few hours on the base and had no plans to travel to Kabul to meet with Hamid Karzai, in a clear sign that the White House already has discounted the Afghan president as a worthwhile partner.
This was Obama's fourth visit to Afghanistan as president, but his first since winning re-election in 2012. He was expected to be briefed by US commanders in Afghanistan, speak to troops at Bagram and visit injured troops being treated at a base hospital. As is typical of recent presidential trips to war zones, the White House did not announce Obama's visit in advance. Media traveling with Obama for the 13-hour flight had to agree to keep the trip secret until the president arrived at the air base.