Update: See Obama's speech to the troops here.Obama plans to speak to troops at the Bagram Air Base:
President Obama landed in the dark at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan this morning after a secret, 13-hour flight from Washington. He's scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet, then spend some time with U.S. troops. He's expected to leave the country before the Afghan sunrise, and be back in Washington early Monday.According to CBS' Mark Knoller, Obama left Andrews AFB at 10:55 pm eastern.
The unannounced visit comes as the U.S. and allied forces consolidate their hold on the territory surrounding Marjah and prepare for a bigger battle in Kandahar — the birthplace and spiritual home of the Taliban.
National Security Adviser Jim Jones describes this as a "strategic moment" in the Afghan conflict, in which coalition forces are beginning to implement the president's new strategy for the region. The meeting with Karzai is intended to impress on the Afghan leader the role his government has to play in rooting out corruption, battling narco-traffickers, and building credible government services in the countryside. More at NPR
Obama was met on arrival at Bagram Air Base by US Amb. Karl Eikenberry and top US Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal.He also tweets:
US officials say Obama will stress need for more progess against corruption, narco-trafficking & merit-based appointment of officials.Obama welcomed in Afghanistan: