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Obama Makes Surprise Trip to Afghanistan

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From the New York Times:

President Obama made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Friday as he sought to smooth over a troubled relationship with President Hamid Karzai and take stock of a nine-year-old American-led war that he hopes to begin winding down next summer.

Mr. Obama planned to head to the presidential palace to meet with Mr. Karzai, who has complained vocally about American military tactics in recent weeks. The president also planned to consult with his commanding general and visit American troops heading into another holiday season far from home.

Wrapped in a tight security cocoon, Mr. Obama was scheduled to be on the ground only for several hours in his second trip in nine months to a country ravaged by war. But his arrival came at critical juncture as he and other NATO allies are putting in place a transition plan intended to hand over control of the battlefield to Afghan forces starting in the new year with the hope of formally ending foreign combat operations there by the end of 2014.

UPDATE:

Scratch that. Obama was supposed to meet with Karzai, but bad weather forced a meeting cancellation. Plan B, a videoconference, was also later canceled due to bad weather. Obama eventually settled for a 15-minute phone call.

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