Bush Stops in Afghanistan; Vows Support

Pledges continued US support
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2008 5:19 AM CST
President George W. Bush speaks at a rally for US troops Sunday at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Five hours after his final visit to the country that defined his presidency, President Bush landed in Afghanistan this morning for an unsurprising surprise visit on his farewell tour. After a pre-dawn rally with US troops, the president renewed his support of the fledgling democracy in a meeting with President Hamid Karzai, reports the New York Times.

“It’s the same mission we had before," Bush said of the continuing US role in Afghanistan. "To help this young democracy to develop the institutions so it can survive on its own and to deny a safe haven for al-Qaeda." Karzai rejected a timetable for withdrawal similar to Iraq's, saying “Afghanistan will not allow the international community to leave until we are fully on our feet.”