Conflict & Justice

Obama visits Afghanistan on bin Laden's death anniversary


US President Barack Obama is greeted by Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti and US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker on May 1, 2012 upon arrival at Bagram Air Field, some 50km north of Kabul. Obama arrived in Afghanistan for a previously unannounced visit.



President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Kabul, Afghanistan, on the one-year anniversary of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death, according to ABC News.

The trip saw the president land at Bagram Air Field at 1:50 p.m. ET Tuesday, after a flight that was kept secret to protect his safety.

Obama is scheduled to address the nation at 7:30 p.m. ET, after meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US troops in Kabul, according to CBS News.

The New York Times reported that Obama was set to sign the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, which will mark the beginning of the end of the more than decade-long war.

CNN reported that at the signing ceremony, Obama warned of "difficult days ahead" but added that the US and Afghanistan would work together for a peaceful future.

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The agreement is meant to be a road map for a relationship between the US and Afghanistan after US troops depart near the end of 2014, according to the current schedule. According to The Times, the agreement pledges US aid to Afghanistan for 10 years after withdrawal, marking a transition from the US being a military presence to a complicated ally.

The trip comes on the one-year anniversary of the US raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan.

The Obama re-election campaign has been reminding the public of Obama's decision to go ahead with the raid, amid accusations from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign that the president has been politicizing the issue, according to CBS News.

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In an interview with "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday, Romney said, "I think them taking credit for the right decision is entirely appropriate. I think trying to attack me on that basis is disappointing and the wrong course."

The Wall Street Journal noted that the trip comes at a time of tense relations between the US and Pakistan, after violent protests over the accidental burning of Qurans and a US army staff sergeant allegedly killing 16 Afghan civilians in a shooting spree. The latest in a string of scandals was the release of photographs in April, showing US troops posing with the dead bodies of Afghan militants.

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Here is raw video footage of Obama's arrival in Kabul at night, courtesy of CNN: