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President Obama addresses nation from Afghanistan

9:41 PM, May 1, 2012   |    comments
  • US President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in the East Room of the White House in Washington on April 30, 2012.(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages)
  • President Barack Obama steps off of Air Force One after it arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan Tuesday evening, May 1, 2012. (CNN)
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KABUL, Afghanistan (USA Today) -- President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, and is addressing the nation tonight on plans to withdraw from the war that is now more than a decade old.

The visit, which was shrouded in secrecy, comes just a few weeks before G-8 and NATO summits at which the Afghanistan withdrawal will be a big topic,

It also comes a year after Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, following a U.S. military raid on the 9/11 architect's compound in neighboring Pakistan.

Obama is scheduled to meet with Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, and sign a new U.S.-Afghanistan "strategic partnership" agreement.

The U.S. and its allies have agreed to withdraw all combat forces and turn over security responsibilities to the Afghans by the end of 2014.

The president also plans to visits with U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.

White House officials scheduled the trip so that Obama would land in and leave Afghanistan in darkness.

Air Force One departed the Andrews military base near Washington, D.C., shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

The presidential party arrived at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan at 10:20 p.m., local time.

Obama then took a helicopter to the presidential palace in Kabul.

(USA Today)

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