Obama in surprise Afghanistan trip

2012-05-01 23:01

Kabul - US President Barack Obama arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday to conclude an agreement charting future relations with the country, making the unannounced trip in darkness on the first anniversary of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Shortly after he arrived, Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the strategic partnership pact, which sets out a future US role in Afghanistan, including aid and advisers, while trying to reassure Afghans that they will not be abandoned when most Nato combat troops leave in 2014.

Obama's plane landed with shades drawn at Bagram Airbase, north of Kabul, where only months ago thousands of Afghans rioted after US troops accidentally burned copies of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

Peace

Obama got off the plane and then boarded a helicopter with senior aides to meet Karzai at his walled garden palace in Kabul, where they signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and shook hands.

"The wages of war have been great for both our nations," Obama told Karzai, adding that he looked forward to a future of peace.

Obama's trip appeared to have multiple audiences.

To US voters in an election year, he sought to signal that the US combat role in Afghanistan is drawing to a close, and to remind them of the May 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed bin Laden.

Within Afghanistan, the palace signing ceremony may be aimed at sending a message to the Taliban and other insurgent groups that they cannot wait out the 130 000 foreign troops in the country, and retake power.

It could help push the insurgency's leaders to re-enter reconciliation talks with both the US and Afghan government.

But a senior US official cautioned that no matter what pacts are signed, "Afghanistan is still going to be the third poorest country in the world with a 70% literacy rate and some huge sectarian schisms."

"This is still going to be tough," the official said, adding that the expectation was that the Afghan government will be able to maintain basic security.

Read more on:    osama bin laden  |  barack obama  |  hamid karzai  |  us  |  afghanistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
21 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

We will give you police - Zille

A total of 250 000 police on the streets is one of the election promises Helen Zille made during an anti-drugs and gangsterism march in Manenberg, Cape Town.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.