Tuesday May 01, 201208:11 PM GMT
Obama in surprise visit to Afghanistan
Tue May 1, 2012 8:9PM
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President Barack Obama is greeted by Lt. Gen. Curtis Mike Scaparrotti, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, as he steps off Air Force One at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Under intense security and the cover of night, President Barack Obama slipped into Afghanistan on Tuesday. The goal of the trip is to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and sign off on a long-term agreement that would extend America's military presence in the country into the next decade.

 

For about seven hours, Obama is to be on the ground in Afghanistan, where the United States has been engaged in war in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks more than a decade ago

 

Obama's itinerary was cloaked in secrecy through the day Tuesday, as White House officials sought to keep news of the trip under wraps out of concern for his safety. Even after hints of the president's arrival broke on Twitter and local Afghan news outlets, White House and U.S. embassy officials repeatedly denied that the president was "in Kabul," and reportedly even asked some outlets to remove mention of it from their Twitter feeds.

 

Air Force One touched down late at night local time at Bagram Air Field, the main U.S. base in Afghanistan.

 

Media traveling with Obama on the 13-hour flight had to agree to keep it secret until Obama had safely finished a helicopter flight to the nation's capital, Kabul, where Taliban still launch lethal attacks.

 

Obama is joining Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign an agreement that will broadly govern the U.S. role in Afghanistan after the American combat mission stops at the end of 2014 - 13 years after it began. Huffington Post

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

The War in Afghanistan is an ongoing coalition conflict which began on October 7, 2001, as the U.S. military's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) that was launched, along with the British military, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. edinburghstw.org.uk

 

The main reason cited for the invasion in 2001 was in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. The aim was to find Osama bin Laden and put him on trial along with other al-Qaeda members. Another aim was to end al-Qaeda as an entity and remove the Taliban in Afghanistan which harbored the organization. patrick-hinton.suite101.com

 

The U.S. named the Afghanistan based al-Qaeda as the sole attacker; however this has been disputed by many analysts as well as a over a third of the U.S. public, according to a 2006 poll.

 

The U.S. played an instrumental role in the 1980s in arming and training local Afghan fighters called the "Mujahideen" who were fighting Soviet occupation. Many of the Mujahideen later became key figures of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even after the Soviet invasion ended, the U.S. was one of only four countries in the world which recognized the Taliban after it militarily took over Afghanistan in 1996. rimanews.com

 

The war was not authorized by the United Nations Security Council and many experts called it illegal under international law. globalresearch.ca

 

The United States continues its military presence in Afghanistan even though the stated goals of the war were to remove the Taliban from power and to capture or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. NY Times

 

Osama bin Laden was allegedly shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Washington Times

 

SM/KA

 

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