President Barack Obama on Friday made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to meet with troops, traveling to the war-torn country just months after the largest release of secret war documents, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
The White House said rough weather forced the president to abruptly scrap his plans to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. The White House determined the wind, dust and cloud cover made it unsafe for the president to fly by helicopter from the huge military complex here to the presidential palace.
Mr. Gibbs said in a Twitter message: “Good morning.. President Obama just landed at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan.. windy and cold here and about 9 pm here.”
Under intense security, Mr. Obama landed in darkness after a clandestine departure from the White House on Thursday, where plans of his trip into the war zone were tightly guarded, the AP reported.
Mr. Obama was to personally thank U.S. troops for their service during the holidays.
Mr. Obama instead will have a secure video conference with President Karzai from Bagram Air Field and won’t go to Kabul, where he was to have had a working dinner with the Afghan leader.
In total, Mr. Obama was to spend three hours on the ground in Afghanistan, about half the time he had scheduled.