The US Vice President Made a Surprising Visit to Afghanistan
US Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday to welcome US troops there and talk to Afghan President Ashraf Gani, DPA reported.
Pence spoke to the soldiers at an airport hangar at the Bagram Air Base. He said he had come four days before Christmas to congratulate them on behalf of their supreme commander-in-chief, US President Donald Trump. "Thanks to you, we are safe, and thanks to you, we are free, thanks to you, freedom has a future in Afghanistan, America and all over the world," Pence told the soldiers, quoted by Associated Press.
The United States has about 15,000 troops deployed in the South Asian country, part of the Allied forces fighting Taliban and other terrorist groups. Pence noted that more than 3,500 soldiers - about two-thirds of them - died in a 16-year war that had begun since the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. The visit was kept in secret for security reasons, because the country is a common target of attacks.
Pence moved with a helicopter from the military base to Kabul, where he met with President Gani and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah. There, he discussed with both Afghan leaders the plans to hold the long-delayed parliamentary elections and said the United States is expecting progress in the political reforms needed for Afghans to trust their democracy.
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