President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Friday to meet with U.S. troops and talk to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The president will be in Bagram for the entirety of his three-hour trip, which is his second visit to the region since becoming president. He was originally scheduled to be in Kabul to meet with Karzai, but bad weather changed the schedule, according to pool reports. He will now speak to Karzai by phone.
Obama will meet with eight patients in a Bagram hospital and award four Purple Hearts. He is also scheduled to give a speech to the troops and will be introduced by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command.
Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told pool reporters that planning for the trip began a month ago and that the main reason for going was to spend time with troops during the holiday season. Rhodes said it is a “particularly tough time of the year” for people in the military and their families.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.