Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Obama makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (ABC)--  Early Monday morning, President Barack Obama is aboard Air Force One, making his way back to the White House from Afghanistan.  The President's secret visit to the war zone was his first as commander in chief.

It was a whirlwind trip for President Obama, only about four hours on the ground, in his first trip to visit Afghanistan as president.  Obama says, "If this region slides backwards, if the Taliban retakes this country and al Qaeda can operate with impunity, then more American lives will be at stake."

The president's visit came as thousands of additional American forces are pouring into the country.  Obama says, "I am confident all of you are going to get the job done here in Afghanistan. I'm confident of that."

There are 80,000 troops currently in Afghanistan.  There will be 100,000 there by September. United States Army General Jack Keane, Former Acting Chief of Staff, says, "We need the rest of the troops that the President is committed to conduct a comprehensive campaign there to change the momentum. That's going take well into 2011 to be able to get that job done."

Obama also visited with President Hamid Karzai.  In public, Obama praised him, saying, "We're encouraged by the progress that's been made." Privately, Obama urged him to clean up his government, root out corruption, and reduce the thriving drug trade.  Obama says, "A transition will be able to occur so that more and more security efforts are made by the Afghans."

U.S. Troops need to fight a large battle for southern Afghanistan.  That's expected to start in a few weeks. Which means, 2010 could prove even more violent than 2009.

Online Reporter: Jill Courtney

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