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President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai address the media at a White House summit in 2009.

President Obama has just completed his surprise visit to Afghanistan this morning, and is returning to the capital. Obama had delayed his travel plans to oversee the final passing of health care, but his destination was not revealed until he arrived on location at Bagram Air Base on Sunday. He discreetly departed from Camp David earlier in the week, saying little as to his intentions so as to not create unnecessarily difficulty for his security team.

Obama used the visit to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to review the country’s benchmarks in the war against the Taliban and other extremist groups within Afghanistan’s contested regions. Obama pressed the importance of defeating corruption and narcotics as well as enemy militants, and also visited with American troops to encourage them in their efforts.

This visit follows news of a new nuclear arms reduction deal that Obama brokered with Russia earlier in the week. That deal, which is set to be signed on April 8th, was secured in the immediate aftermath of the passage of health care reform, capping a fruitful and hectic period for the Obama administration.

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Bryan Baird

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