UPDATE: 3:45pm EST
Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement, laying out details of the US/Afghanistan relationship for the withdrawal of US troops in 2014 through 2024.
As reported by ABC:
After Karzai thanked the American people for helping the people of his country, President Obama said he had “come to Afghanistan to mark this historic moment for our two nations.”
“Neither Afghans nor Americans asked for this war,” the president said, noting that “for a decade we have stood together. We look forward to a future of peace.”
“We have made progress,” he continued, “now we will be long term partners in combating terrorism and training Afghan Security partners.”
President Obama cautioned that “there will be difficult days ahead.”
The two presidents signed the document, stood up and shook hands.
Obama will address the nation live from Bagram Air Base tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.
SOURCE: ABC News
President Barack Obama is in Afghanistan on an unannounced trip to sign an agreement on US post-war role. It was reported earlier today that the President arrived in Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai.
The White House had denied the report.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told NewsCore:
"That report is not accurate and the president is not in Kabul," only confirming that a "high-level delegation" had arrived in the Afghan capital while the US Embassy said reports that Obama was there were "false."
As reported by ABC News:
Obama touched down at Bagram Air Field just outside the Afghan capital at 1:50 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to press pool reports, following a roughly 13-hour flight that was shrouded in secrecy to protect the president's security.
He will address the nation live from Bagram Air Base tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, following meetings with Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul. He is expected to announce the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan.
The agreement is expected to ensure American military and financial support for Afghanistan for a decade beyond 2014, the date of the final U.S. combat troop withdrawal, in the form of military intelligence resources, aircraft and counterterrorism tools to support the Afghan military, which will take the lead in domestic security operations.
The arrangement, penned ahead of a NATO summit on Afghanistan in Chicago later this month, is designed to send a strong message to the region that the U.S. is not abandoning the country even as it sharply reduces its footprint there.
Obama's visit comes one year after he ordered the mission to capture and kill Osama Bin Laden.
SOURCE: ABC News
(Photo courtesy of Charles Dharapak/AP)