CNN/CBS – President Barack Obama landed Sunday in Afghanistan on an unannounced trip to visit with U.S. forces on Memorial Day weekend, according to the press pool traveling with the President.
This marks his fourth trip to the country, with his last being on May 1, 2012, when he made an address to the United States about the country’s involvement in Afghanistan.
Country music star Brad Paisley, who will perform for troops, traveled aboard Air Force One with the President.
The plane left late Saturday night and arrived at Bagram Air Field Sunday morning Eastern time.
A rally of roughly 32,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan were treated to a concert from country music star Brad Paisley before Obama spoke to troops.
The president thanked the service men and women for all of their hard work overseas protecting the country.
“To all of you, I’m here on a single mission and that is to thank you for your extraordinary service,” Obama said to cheers from the audience. ““I’m here to say thank you and I’m here to say how proud I am of you. And I’m here to say how proud I am of your families because in some ways in ways large and small their sacrificing just like you are.”
Obama began to remind them how the beginning of America’s longest-running war began. He stated that the U.S. is at a crucial moment in its mission in Afghanistan and that U.S. forces are supporting Afghan security forces. But he explained that at the end of the year, that the U.S. combat mission will finally end.
“For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan,” Obama said to the troops. ““America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end. Even with all the challenges, more Afghans have hope for their future and that is because of you.”
He also explained that he was hopeful a new president in Afghanistan would lead to a signed security agreement which would leave just a small number of U.S. troops in the country after 2014.
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