Under the cover of night late on Saturday, Barack Obama boarded Air Force One with country music singer Brad Paisley for a surprise visit to the troops in Afghanistan. This is Mr. Obama's first trip since 2012, when he signed an agreement to end the Afghanistan War.
According to the New York Times:
The trip was unannounced, and Mr. Obama slipped out of the White House secretly on Saturday evening in advance of what White House officials said would be a Memorial Day rally with the troops. Officials said the president is also expected to get an on-site briefing from his military commanders and visit wounded service members.
Brad Paisley tagged along to perform for the troops on Memorial Day this Monday, where over 30,000 troops are expected to attend. The rally is being framed as a thank you from Barack Obama for the troops' service. Most of the troops are scheduled to return home at year's end.
According to the Associated Press,
While combat forces are due to depart at the end of this year, Obama administration officials have pressed to keep some troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to continue training the Afghan security forces and undertake counterterrorism missions.
Mr. Obama is not expected to make any policy announcements while he is in Afghanistan, and he will reportedly not meet with Afghani president, Hamid Karzai.
The New York Times reports:
Mr. Obama is expected to wait until he returns to the United States to offer his latest foreign policy and national security vision, during a speech that he is scheduled to give at the West Point graduation on Wednesday.
[Image via AP]