Obama Talks to Troops on Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

KABUL (AP) - President Barack Obama has told American forces during his surprise visit to Afghanistan that U.S. lives would be at risk if the Taliban retake control of the country.

Obama says difficult days lie ahead in the 8-year-old war and he says there will be setbacks. But he says the U.S. doesn't quit and will prevail.

The president spoke to about 2,500 U.S. forces at Bagram Air Field after talks earlier Sunday in Kabul with Afghan leaders.

Obama told President Hamid Karzai and his Cabinet that they need to make more progress in fighting corruption and improving their government. He praised recent steps in the military campaign against insurgents, but added that the Afghan people need to see conditions get better.

The White House insisted that Karzai's Cabinet participate in most of the meetings with Obama. The administration wants to strengthen the position of ministers not considered cronies of Karzai.

For his part, the Afghan president thanked Obama for the American intervention in his country and promised that his country would eventually take over its own security.

The White House says Obama invited Karzai to visit Washington in May.

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