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What does Obama's visit mean for Afghanistan?

19:14 UK time, Sunday, 28 March 2010

US President Barack Obama has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, his first since taking office last year. What effect will his visit have?

Mr Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, inviting him to the US in May for talks. He then addressed US soldiers at Bagram air base, saying they were there to help Afghans "forge a hard-won peace".

In December, Mr Obama ordered the deployment of an extra 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan. Only a few thousand of the extra forces have arrived so far, with most expected to be in place by the summer.

What impact will Mr Obama's visit have on progress in Afghanistan? Will his presence in the country affect the troops? Why has he decided to make this visit now?

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Not much for Afghanistan. Just one corrupt leader meeting another. It probably juts boosted Obama's poll ratings.

  • Comment number 2.

    Poor Mr. O. He has to try. But success in Afghanistan depends on the Afghanis even more than any US involvement. Their bribery-driven authoritarian culture has been in place for centuries and I doubt that the US will be able to change it in the short term future. Of course the UK military has a long and distinguished history in Afghanistan, so no doubt you will be able to tell us just how to manage.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done Mr President. This important visit will show the people there, that they are not forgotton.

  • Comment number 4.

    Maybe an increased interest in basketball?

  • Comment number 5.

    Apparently, Mr Obama is going to ask Mr Karzai to be more democratic and honurable.

    That's a joke as Mr Obama has foisted the US Healthcare Legislation onto the American people - having failed with brazen Pork Barrel bribes but now used bulldozed it through using legislation that was supposed to only be used for Budget enactments and which sideline any opposition and allows Bills to be passed with minority share of the popular vote ....

    Which politician is the most corrupt?

  • Comment number 6.

    This Visit of Mr.Obama will boost the moral of the Nato Soldiers. The American President is not a man of words but a man of deeds. Its nice to see such type ofleaders in todays corrupt world who risk their life and visit such high tense regions. Personally would suggest Mr.President to minimise such risk visits as his life is much much more precious then what he thinks.

  • Comment number 7.

    He is a good man and this visit will inspire his and our troops to fight for us. He is there now because he cares for his people, the same reason our Prime Minister visited recently.

  • Comment number 8.

    If he really laid it on the line to Karsai that reform is essential, then maybe it might do some good.

    The press will claim that his presence lifted the moral of the US troops, just as Prince Charles was supposed to have done for UK troops.

    My guess is that the troops are all counting the days till their tours end and desperately hoping that they will make it without death or serious injury. They will be wishing that they could go back to safety and comfort right away, just as the Prince and the President will do.

  • Comment number 9.

    Obama needs to stay in Afghanistan and see and feel the full effect of the war he is escalating. Oh, and members of Congress who voted for it should also be on the front line instead of sitting behind a cosy desk.
    That should end the war quickly.

  • Comment number 10.

    I dont see the visit making any significant change to Afghanistan

  • Comment number 11.

    Protocol (common sense) doesn't permit the President to endanger his life, since the Presidency would also be at risk. Mr. Obama has never struck me as a coward and, as a man, would fight alongside the soldiers without any qualms.
    Those republican waste baskets should be sent there, definitely. Maybe they'd get along with the taliban, since they share very similar ideologies, i.e. violence, recaltricance, sanctimony and just plain nastiness!
    This visit is normal, with one big difference. Obama commands respect with his caring touch. Bush just pissed everybody off wherever he went.

  • Comment number 12.

    Mr Obama is more and more close to Bush tan ever.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is a firm and clear message sent out to the entire World by the Most Honorable President of USA that their mission at Afghanistan is to bring peace to the area rather than doing of harm to any and that they have no intension whatsoever to expand their territory under any circumstances. This is the ideal always being carrying forward by USA from its inception as a Country or as a Nation and existed on the strength of giving the Business a different name on every alternate day.

    Business also took root that strongly at Afghanistan but situations forced them to go somewhat haphazard or haywire to miss out giving of a style into it by taking recourse to collecting of fund often in an unlawful way which never saw them growing in an appropriate manner. They no doubt carry a beautiful mind together to bring-in togetherness amongst them once we show them the lost path nonetheless they got influenced amasses by falling prey to incitement of someone who is not part of them and who had lost his own path in the middle of the road to belong to none which forced the Afghans to behave iritic. With such a fine character inherited, why cannot we bring them back to us to find their actual gifted character through peaceful means? We must do that and result shall be in the favor of the entire humanity.

    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)


  • Comment number 14.

    Please look deeper than, what is, on front of us. American war strategy is nothing more than, a doctor treating the symptoms, and doing nothing about the causes. Reason behind this war is not new but some thing of the time of the old.They are enshrined in mind set of two beliefs, joined at the root. American and European slogan "Democracy" a divine gift is cotrary to the their own actions. let me take you to a ride. ride in to what it was meant and what has been made of it. To day Hardly any one is aware of the fact, that all the tongs have grown out of one tong, Latin (Truth)originally consisting of 28 letters and modified to 36 letters in Egypt to accommodate human (originally Humann, "His" desire, referring to our creator, the Lord God in the holy Bible and Holy Quraan) innovations. words in any language are the combination of multiple functions performed by human. Like wise Democracy is a divine commandment to resolve issues among humanity (Halakat)The limitations. Conflict is not over Democracy ( DE MO CR A CY power, Choice or authority to fulfill my desire) but the legality or Truth fullness of the desire. Democracy based on western ideology, strictly based on desire is fundamentally opposite to the democracy desired by the Afghan Muslims and rest of the Muslim world. Truthfulness is the key to win this war, other wise regardless of how many Presidents visits or use of force is applied to force western desire, is doomed to be a failure. Money and force can change the physical form but have no capacity to change some ones hart, because Love (Submission) is the possession of a hart. Acting strictly to fulfill a desire, without any consideration to the limit is nothing but bound to be a failure and a crime.

  • Comment number 15.

    It means that with the healthcare bill already signed into Law, the president is free and energized to pursue other important matters that will finally put the democrats on their way to full recovery from the political impasse of the controversial healthcare debate.

  • Comment number 16.

    Actually, I’m not sure why the President went, exspecially in such a furtive manner, in the darkness.
    Maybe the healthcare din was giving him a headache. Sarah Palin gives me a headache just be opening her mouth.
    I suppose the presidential visit should buoy the troops, while privately making sure that Karzai toes the line. I guess that Karzai's May invitation to Washington is to present his Afghan report card.
    I wonder if Obama's speech was totally coherent to the troops, saying they were there to help Afghans "forge a hard-won peace". When have the Afghan People ever had "a hard-won peace" in the last twenty years, or more? Maybe he was trying to say that things got more peaceful under the Americans or that Bagram will be more peaceful than Guantanamo?
    Maybe it was to reassure the troops that the rest of the 30,000 US troops were not lost after all, but will duly arrive by the summer.
    I can’t see the visit furthering Afghan progress.
    President Obama probably just wanted to get to Afghanistan while he was still riding high from the Healthcare Bill and the so-called Russian/American nuclear weapons' reduction deal.
    It’s been a while since Obama has been this puffed up. The puff doesn’t mean much, but political puffyness feels swell.

  • Comment number 17.

    Obama's trip to Afghanistan means he is trying to pick up his falling poll numbers by looking patriotic after forcing America into a Socialized medical plan no one here (who work) want.
    It's not working...

  • Comment number 18.

    IM sorry but are we spose to go oh wow obama has just decided to go to afghanistan and not in the dangerous part either. LOOK at our royals and stars and all the important people going to the heart of afghan over and over again he goes just once since he came into power WOW

  • Comment number 19.

    "What impact will Mr Obama's visit have on progress in Afghanistan?"
    Nothing as far as the Afghan contribution to a Taliban-free country is concerned. I find it hard to believe the Afghans can't remove the Taliban if they so wanted. They managed to drive off the Soviets and are giving the same kind of treatment to NATO. And they are very capable fighters willing to fight amongst themselves, so lack of courage or experience isn't an issue either. The presence of the Taliban mentality is, and should be, an embarrassment to any right minded Muslim, including myself.
    The state of Afghanistan ought to be an embarrassment to the Afghans themselves and to the rest of the Islamic world which should have helped remove the Taliban before NATO needed to (instead of merely criticizing NATO), and before they and their al-Qaeda allies had a chance to murder innocent men, women and children; Muslim and non-Muslims; in and out of Afghanistan.

    "Will his presence in the country affect the troops?"
    I hope it is a morale booster for them. The US troops there, like our (UK) troops, are doing a thankless task, and largely ignored by a public distracted by economic worries at home. As a secular UK Muslim, I have more in common with the troops operating there, than with the Taliban (and Afghans). I see no conflict between my faith and my country. There are certain repetitive HYS contributors, both Muslim and non-Muslim who will chide and scoff at me, respectively, for saying this, but being only capable of black-and-white analysis is their problem, not mine or anyone else's.

    "Why has he decided to make this visit now?"
    Likely because US elections are coming in November. Like them or not, politicians will be politicians-they just can't help it.

  • Comment number 20.

    How many times did Bush visit the troops in Afghanistan. He was always going to Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11/01. Sorry the U.k. got sucked into Iraq. The U.S. got sucked in deeper!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    why dont we in the us accept the fact thaat we are no longer a world power--economically or militarily--we are BROKE--we cannt afford these wars anymore.

    ashni b

  • Comment number 23.

    Same "stuff", different day.

    Anything short of pulling the troops and letting Kharzhai fend for himself is just a bandage on a dambreak. It's time for the Afghans to realize who is for peace, and who is for more death and bombs in the markets.

    So pull the troops, let chaos and murder reign in A'stan for a while, and THEN when the US returns the nation to order, they will FINALLY be "welcomed as liberators".

    Too bad it would take another stack of DEAD AFGHANS to teach this lesson.

  • Comment number 24.

    Obama's visit is just like any other leader's visit to troops and a foreign government in a zone of operations. Its a show of support that helps the troops, a reassurance of the importance of their mission, a chance to meet with the other leader, and of course, a benefit to the politician who is visiting.

    It doesn't mean much but its a necessary part of being in charge of the situation. He could do everything from Washington, but the Afghans, or any people, certainly would have preference for a man who actually comes to their country.

  • Comment number 25.

    I understand President Obama only gave President Karzai an hour's notice before he arrived. I wonder how much heroine you can flush down an Afghan toilet in an hour?

  • Comment number 26.

    Comment 22. Because it is an addiction and is hard to get rid of. With these super power addicted minds, Good lord have mercy on USA. Aman.

  • Comment number 27.

    I didn't vote for Obama but I am proud to see him stand up as the Comander-in-Chief and make the needed commitment to the armed forces of the world to defeat the taliban and those who would help them.
    If he continues in this position of confidance and strength I will vote for him in the next election.
    Brent, Chico CA USA

  • Comment number 28.

    President Obama is the Commander In-Chief, is there anything wrong for him to see his troops?. Thanks goodness he did not go there to declear victory by standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. It may not mean much to those who oppose this escalation of war, but to the soldiers it is a strong moral boost.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    21. At 00:00am on 29 Mar 2010, Mohammad A Dar wrote:
    comment19 Zaman or who ever you are, Talaban are Afghan and their mind set is your fear. It is nothing more than your wish to see it disappear. You may wish them destruction from your maggi (Trickster) hart. Rest assured you and people of your mind set will vanish in hopelessness when people of Afghanistan will march in to Jerusalem along side Talaban. Very Soon.

    Dar. If you love the Taliban so very much, I suggest you go and fight for them. If you like to live in caves, I suggest you live in one. If you want to live in a Seventh Century Caliphate, then I suggest you do so, and not use such "decadent" contraptions such as the internet, CPUs and the electricity that powers them, except to look up the correct spelling of "heart" and "Taliban".
    And I don't fear them or their ignorance either. Just as I don't fear your apparent ignorance with either spelling or your personal interpretation of the Quran.
    And before you march into Jerusalem with all the people of Afghanistan and your Taliban idols, I suggest you let both the anti-Taliban factions and the Israelis know. They may not like each other much, but probably hate the Taliban more. Just like everyone else except you.

  • Comment number 31.

    It is interesting to see our socialist president adopt President George W. Bush's surge tactic in Afghanistan without giving President Bush credit for his surge tactic in Iraq which he cpoied and for which he severely chastised President Bush when he was a senator without responsibility for the defense of our country. He also has adopted many of Bush's military positions, sub silentio, to the horror of his juvenile left wing supporters. The reality of being responsible for the safety of the American public has a sobering way of overcoming Obama's left wing campaign demagoguery. Obama's biggest problem is dealing with the naive left wing boobs who make up his constituency. What a hypocrit!

  • Comment number 32.

    I wonder how we in the U.S. would feel if we got occupied by a foreign power which tried to control our trafficking of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Sterling Greenwood/AspenFreePress

  • Comment number 33.

    comment 30 Zaman or who ever, Talaban have one thing to love which is missing in your life. No matter what you think of them, They are honest, they do not hide, they do not lie, neither thy distort nor deceive like you do. Regarding use of internet, you have spilled your mind set. why do you have problem with use of technology. Are you the only one familiar with it or the inventor of it. Talaban are very well educated people, with in the Limit of the truth and they know the technology very well , not like you ignorant in you reason. Remember to days technology has roots in Muslim education Lets see how educated you are. Translate the word education, Mohammad Zaman,the name claiming for your self, more likely in deception. It will prove who you really are.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    After Eight long years, any NEW combination In Afghanistan always looks more like wine in NEW bottle. So, NOTHING much can change in Afghanistan. as it a failed state and it has an uphill battle - educated & 100% committed Afghan leadership is required for any positive change!

  • Comment number 36.

    He finally made it over there then. Is he going to go in to talks to ensure the armed forces can leave...I think not. I suspect he was told it was about time he rallied the troops working for him. Instead of nice visits to look good in the media, why not try the novel approach of doing your job & creating the right political conditions for all of our armed forces to get out of Afghanistan. At least GW Bush was honest & wasn't bright enough to belie his lack of action with pretty words.

  • Comment number 37.

    Bush should not have asked for war with Iraq but rather concentrated on Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. In the bargain, Obama inherited not one but two wars. Obama did the right thing by slowing down on Iraq and accelerating on Afghanistan. But the move was rather late when Obama came on the scene. His latest surprise visit to Afghanistan is no doubt a morale booster for the soldiers but what one can gauge from the exhausted faces of the soldiers is not encouraging. The war in Afghanistan is rag-torn and a lost cause. Even if Bin Laden is annihilated his deputies are waiting in the wings. A persistent and patient dialogue will help in rooting out the malaise and leading to a better understanding among faiths.

  • Comment number 38.

    "comment 30 Zaman or who ever, Talaban have one thing to love which is missing in your life. No matter what you think of them, They are honest, they do not hide, they do not lie, neither thy distort nor deceive like you do."

    What a silly statement. If I wasn't honest, I wouldn't be saying the true but unpleasant things about the Taliban I've said. Instead I'd pretend to love them and pretend to be supremely brave too just like you claim too. Perhaps you should brush up on your logic.

    "Remember to days technology has roots in Muslim education Lets see how educated you are."

    Yes, many Muslim scholars are responsible for many scientific advances. And being a Harvard-trained PhD too, I tend to know a little bit more about that than an illogical non-scientist such as yourself. I believe those particular scientists were mainly Arabic, Moorish, Persian and Indian Muslims. None were of the Taliban, as they didn't exist before 1996. The Taliban's formal existence is merely 14 years old, but you can't seem to even get those pitifully few facts rights during such a short period of history. Perhaps you should brush up on history too.

    Also if you rambled less, thought much more and read more of my previous posts, you'd actually find some that defends Islam from other critics. But please don't let that get in the way of your arrogant preconceptions, will you? And please don't let me stop you joining the Taliban, especially as you believe their methods of brutalizing and killing innocent men, women and children are acceptable. What a wonderful, kind, generous, compassionate and absolutely pious person you must truly be.

    Reply all you want, but I won't reply back to you anymore. You're a religious fanatic - the type who always thinks they're always right - even when you're always wrong.

  • Comment number 39.


    Clever political strategy: Striking the iron while hot to project his image overseas, after signing the healthcare reform into law as well as the new START treaty for nuclear weapon reduction.

    The visit could bring about a positive impact albeit small on the morale of the troops. But it might be construed as supporting the weak and less-than-popular president -- that would be a negative move in the eyes of many Afghans.

    Just make sure the war ends, the sooner the better.
    (boontee)

  • Comment number 40.

    to think that this sort of visit is meant for anything more than domestic american consumption is naive.

    this is part of an attempt by the obama administration to defuse some of the right-wing outrage at the "socialist" health bill issues currently besetting american politics. by appearing as a war leader and "supporting the troops", presidents appeal to a wider base and particularly to those for whom any form of government intervention in a situation is "socialism". except when it comes to a centrally paid for and controlled military invading another country. as ive seen on many bumpers in my travels through the states... "support our troops, or stand in front of them"

  • Comment number 41.

    Being uninfluenced by "anything is news" journalism I await the outcome of this visit with the contempt it deserves. Mr Obama may play to the crowds if he chooses but it does not impress me.

    Afghanis and Coalition forces are dying or being maimed on a daily basis; that is the news that matters and needs to be acted upon.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    Obama’s visit to Afghanistan will boost the moral of US soldiers.

  • Comment number 44.

    Inconvenience to thousands of Afghans and about a $50 million bill to US tax payers.

  • Comment number 45.

    Obama visited to bolster his troops as any Leader should.

    I don't know about Afghanistan, afterall the "War" was a simple means to extract Turkmenistan Oil & Gas, or so Bush & Chaney thought.

    More importantly, if General Patraeus re-affirms his opinion that Israeli beliggerance is endangering US Military Lives, it will give Pres Obama all the leverage he needs to de-horn AIPAC and put Netanyahu and his Orthodox gang's feet to the Fire for a Two-State SOLUTION and end Israeli BONDAGE of Palestinians.

    Now that things are taking-shape, Obama is prooving to be pretty Clever. Won't surprise me if AIPAC's LOYALTY comes into question, they are actually a Foreign Interest within US Govt and appoint their own to control Think-Tanks which greatly Influence US Policy.
    Stroke of Genius really: Using US Aid to BUY US Politicians & Media who further perpetuate Aid. It's ALL GRAVY from the cradle of Capitalism.

    US Voters will tollerate any number of Foreign Fatalities under any bogus premise, but will NOT EXCUSE ANYONE for Endangering US Military Lives.

  • Comment number 46.

    "This Visit of Mr.Obama will boost the moral of the Nato Soldiers...... Personally would suggest Mr.President to minimise such risk visits as his life is much much more precious then what he thinks"

    Oh please... Bush flew to the conflict zone when it was more tense. AirForce1 operates covertly for god's sake. Mr O could even show up at your door step the very next min.

  • Comment number 47.

    Only that he completely forgot his election promise and goes after oil pipe line as Bush did.

  • Comment number 48.

    During his visit, perhaps President Obama could ask President Karzai whether he and his government are more interested in spreading Islam than the economic well-being of Afghanistan and its people? They appear to be.

    Afghanistan's constitution declares the supremacy of the Qur'an and Sharia. No man-made law may contradict these. Just like the Taleban believes.

    A declaration that President Karzai'a government does not seek a return to the 7th century would be welcome.

  • Comment number 49.

    afgan.. should be back to normal.. but why Obama? is there any hidden agenda? or a gimmick to escape from attacks???

  • Comment number 50.

    What does Obama's visit mean for Afghanistan?

    Nothing, just a bit of propaganda for the folks back home. All the visit probably did was get in the way of the military trying to do their job.

  • Comment number 51.

    "27. At 01:36am on 29 Mar 2010, brent wrote:
    I didn't vote for Obama but I am proud to see him stand up as the Comander-in-Chief"

    Isn't this the sort of thing he's supposed to do? As far as I can see, everyone else has gone out on a visit.

    It is a show of support for the troops (and probably a nightmare for all security people).

  • Comment number 52.

    I feel that he is just more focussed on afghanistan than iraq

  • Comment number 53.

    36. At 03:22am on 29 Mar 2010, Queen_Becci_B wrote:
    He finally made it over there then. Is he going to go in to talks to ensure the armed forces can leave...I think not. I suspect he was told it was about time he rallied the troops working for him. Instead of nice visits to look good in the media, why not try the novel approach of doing your job & creating the right political conditions for all of our armed forces to get out of Afghanistan. At least GW Bush was honest & wasn't bright enough to belie his lack of action with pretty words'.

    George W Bush was honest? What planet are you living on?! The 'weapons of mass distruction' and 'Iraq was involved in 9/11' lies, ring any bells? That man lied for straight 8 years but as with most issues, republicans and conservatives seem to suffer from convenient amnesia and act as if those 8 years under Bush's reign never happened.

    And since President Obama is the Commander in- Chief, I am pretty damn sure he is in Afghanistan doing his job. If you think being President is such a cozy desk job, perhaps you should take it on and see how long you last.

  • Comment number 54.

    This visit to show american soldiers that Obama is with them...a perfect example of team spirit....

  • Comment number 55.

    Nice one Barak.

    I bet you put the frighteners up that nice, honest Mr Karzai...

  • Comment number 56.

    It is high time President Obama visited Afghanistan, especially when too much is at stake for the United States, Afghanistan and the region as a whole. Let's not fool each other, today's situation is as volatile as can be and if military action against the Taliban and Al Qaeeda do not have parallel plans for nation building in a corrupt free environment then I fear the worst is yet to come. President Karzai should be given benchmarks that he has to live up to and be held accountable for bringing about drastic change. Afghanistan is in desperate need for a leader who is bold and decisive and unfortunately President Karzai is neither. If only former President Daood was still alive. This penny's worth of thought comes from an Afghan who sees no hope in the distant future. God help us ALL !

  • Comment number 57.

    There's a turn-up for the books: Barak Obama jumping on Prince Charles' bandwaggon. What next: will he start sporting tweed and waxing lyrical about locally produced regional cheeses?

  • Comment number 58.

    Other than photo-ops and a few soundbites the visit means nothing.

  • Comment number 59.

    first of all we afghans are really tiried of such policies of America and britian regarding afghanistan and afghan people. This kinds of visits just is to show for American people that if your sons are killed afghanistan we are concerned about. but the reality is that America and specaily UK has first to stop helping the terrorist in pakistan. instead of sending troops to afganistan they should stop funding the pakistani malitry and ISI. Because America and Uk is indirectly funding the Taliban and elkaid. we are really tiried we dont want them to visit afghanistan.

  • Comment number 60.

    "This Visit of Mr.Obama will boost the moral of the Nato Soldiers...... Personally would suggest Mr.President to minimise such risk visits as his life is much much more precious then what he thinks"


    Why would it boost Nato soldier's morale? It may boost US soldier's morale, but I am sure the majority of Nato troops couldn't care less if he was there or not, in fact they would probably prefer him not to be there due to the security chaos it caused.

  • Comment number 61.

    He has to reassure the shareholders of the military suppliers of the clear need for their business and continued support for his presidency. Muh like John Gummer feeding BSE burgers to his daughter in front of the press.

  • Comment number 62.

    Obama's visit will have little or no effect; it is a political show.

    The primary reason I voted to Obama was because I believed he would make significant changes in the so-called "war on terror" and get us our of both Iraq and Afghanistan. If we are still engaged in either or both of these countries with thousands of troops, that will be the primary reason I will not vote for him in the next election.

  • Comment number 63.

    President Obama's trip to Afghanistan is important because it satisfies the expectations of the American people and because it he put pressure on President Karzai to accelerate the readiness of his troops to assume a greater role in fighting Al Qaeda and marginalizing the Taliban.

  • Comment number 64.

    The naivety suggested by his rhetoric is a painful reminder of selfish US interests in the region. That goodwill would be welcomed on many parts of the world, not just where oil going to flow...

  • Comment number 65.

    Although President Obama voted for the Afghan incursion, he has inherited a situation from the Republicans in the middle of their economic crisis. The 'war' is costly in lives and dollars a price that oil-rich Bush never flinched to exact from ordinary Americans. He has been accused of 'socialism' by Republican bankers and car manufacturers who believe that their businesses deserve to be bailed out by public taxes. He has been accused of corruption by Republicans whose only economic policy is tax cuts for the mega-rich. He has been accused of lacking patriotism by Republicans who take good care that their sons do not fight for the US in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
    His visit is to remind the troops that they are not forgotten and that he is their Commander in Chief.
    It must be nearly impossible for a decent, honest man to be President of the USA and they are so fortunate to have him.
    Look what we've got!

  • Comment number 66.

    "20. At 11:24pm on 28 Mar 2010, Marc wrote:

    How many times did Bush visit the troops in Afghanistan. He was always going to Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11/01. Sorry the U.k. got sucked into Iraq. The U.S. got sucked in deeper!"

    The US got sucked in deeper? The US couldn't wait to go to war in Iraq, they knocked down the UN in their rush to go and kill Iraqi's, not listening to anyone....but as they say...fools rush in, and the US is the biggest fool, along with Blair and his willingness to sacrifice British soldiers lives so Bush would give him a green card.

  • Comment number 67.

    62. At 11:33am on 29 Mar 2010, clintinca wrote:
    Obama's visit will have little or no effect; it is a political show.

    The primary reason I voted to Obama was because I believed he would make significant changes in the so-called "war on terror" and get us our of both Iraq and Afghanistan. If we are still engaged in either or both of these countries with thousands of troops, that will be the primary reason I will not vote for him in the next election.

    President Obama has been in office little over a year now, did you really think that pulling troops out of both countries could be done overnight? Last time I checked Obama wasn't able to perform any magic tricks yet too many people seem to think he is able to do just that. Change takes time people!! Rome wasn't build in one day either!

  • Comment number 68.

    if they knew he was coming thay could of baked a cake

  • Comment number 69.

    The problem with our strategy in Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the Middle East is that it is focused on military might rather than trying to win the hearts and minds of the people in the region. As a result, the best we can expect is to keep Al Qaeda on the run (I suspect its leadership is probably living in comfort in places like Yemen or Somalia) and keep the Taliban out of power. This strategy, obviously, requires an indefinite foreign presence to maintain the status quo in countries where westerners and foreign influences are not welcomed.


  • Comment number 70.

    No change!
    The Afghans (and the Iraqis) just want as much money as they can get rom the West.

  • Comment number 71.

    What a ridiculous question. How on earth can anyone know?

    Would the BBC report on it if the Dutch, Danish or Canadian PM visited their troops? Unlikely.

    Please, end this Obama and US obsession.

    Still, better than listening to the droning on about Climate Change, I suppose........

  • Comment number 72.

    Oboama is the COMMANDER -IN -CHIEF of the American Armed forces in Afganistan. He is visting his troops among other things.The visit of the commander in chief top his troops is always very important and the greatest moral booster to the troops.

  • Comment number 73.

    Not much for Afghanistan. The visit is more for the American public and to show support for the American troops. His visit should improve the troops morale as it shows that they are not being ignored.

  • Comment number 74.

    Mr. Obama will probably realize that he cannot withdraw the troops by mid 2012 as a lot of work remains to be done in the region. Afghanistan will take a long time to get stable.

  • Comment number 75.

    Who is Obama?

  • Comment number 76.

    It probably won't make a difference in the physical and practical sense, but I believe that moral and belief is just as strong. Obama's visit shows that he is still paying attention to what is going on at ground level, and we forget that this ia war-torn country he is entering; it is a dangerous place to go, and yet he goes. Whether or not it makes a difference it shows that it is still at the forefront of his mind. Call me an idealist that I still believe in the goodness of human nature - but I'm sure it makes me a much happier person.

    One thing that strikes me is that leaders such as Obama and Brown are damned if they do and damned if they don't. If they don't visit these countries, then criticism is rained down upon them for not visiting said countries, not paying them enough attention. If they do visit said countries, then they are criticised for milking a bad situation, for using a horrible war to further their own image.

    Perhaps it is time for us to sit back and re-evaluate what it is we actually want from our politicians - rather than just using them as a metaphorical punching bag.

  • Comment number 77.

    He is not our President because he is not a citizen. He is not the Commander-in-Cheif of our troops for the same reason. However, he probably felt safer there than in the U.S. after ramming the health care bill down our throats. If he thinks it is such a good idea for our troops to be there, he should stay and help. We would feel safer if he was out of the country.

  • Comment number 78.

    When will the BBC stop fawning over this President Obama. Just because he makes some symbolic stop in a faraway does this mean the sun will come up everyday? He is nothing more than a media hound.

  • Comment number 79.

    It means they will not be blanket bombed......well not until he comes back out anyway!

  • Comment number 80.

    Like all visits by 'Dignitaries' it will remove troops from their real job for the day, it will distract the commanders from their proper jobs and cost a fortune. It will produce a few handshakes and photos, and a 'soundbite'.
    I guess it's not bad for a wet Monday morning.

  • Comment number 81.

    77. At 1:13pm on 29 Mar 2010, Kathy Overhauser wrote:
    "He is not our President because he is not a citizen. He is not the Commander-in-Cheif of our troops for the same reason. However, he probably felt safer there than in the U.S. after ramming the health care bill down our throats. If he thinks it is such a good idea for our troops to be there, he should stay and help. We would feel safer if he was out of the country".

    Watching Fox news again, are we?!


  • Comment number 82.

    No. It is not important. Obama is the worst president the US has ever had. He is powerless, other than in ruining the US economy in the name of communism.

  • Comment number 83.

    President Obama's surprise visit to Afghanistan is indication of his firm commitment to secure enduring peace in the region. What is more interesting is his forthright message to Afghan President to root out corruption in the system and break the nexus between drug trade and militancy. His visit should also boost the morale of forces fighting against militants.
    His initiative to get the stalled negotiations between Israel and Palestine going also shows his earnestness to secure permanent peace in entire region. His heart and head are at the right place. All the well meaning people of the world should support his efforts.

  • Comment number 84.

    The President of the United States is doing his job as commander-in-chief. He deserves neither praise nor skorn for doing what he is supposed to do. Of course this trip is both political and symbolic, as are ALL acts by a head of state.

  • Comment number 85.

    Complain about this comment
    * 53. At 09:48am on 29 Mar 2010, Dutchie76 wrote:

    'George W Bush was honest? What planet are you living on?! The 'weapons of mass distruction' and 'Iraq was involved in 9/11' lies, ring any bells? That man lied for straight 8 years but as with most issues, republicans and conservatives seem to suffer from convenient amnesia and act as if those 8 years under Bush's reign never happened.'

    I probably could have worded it a little better, I know Bush was FAR from honest, I mean his lies about Iraq have cost the lives of my fellow countrymen too. What I meant was he was upfront about being a war monger, he didn't hide it behind pretty words. Obama is a very good orator, but his actions show he wants to continue this war & back up a corrupt government in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 86.

    Trouble with the Taliban is that they follow the Salifist tradition, they believe the perfect muslim society was what existed at the time of the Prophet. They are resolutely anti-science, follow a literal reading of the Holy Quran which takes no notice of it's historical context ,and regard all muslims who don't agree with them as at best misguided and at worst apostates.
    Also most of the insurgents in Afghanistan are not Taliban, they are mostly tribesman who don't like foreign, non-muslim troops being in their country. They are not keen on the Afghan Government either, their experience of the Central Government is of a corrupt ,oppressive entity.
    The Coalition forces have to drive the Taliban out of a province, stay there while the Afghan Government Army and Police establish an adminstration which delivers what the local people want, thereby winning over the local population to supporting the government.
    It's a long, slow, costly and unglamourous process.
    The troops need to know they have the support of their political leaders. Bush was quick enough to put them in but too stupid to realise it would be a long term commitment. His advisors seemed to have taken their cue from the Rambo movies, a little study of Afghan history would have been better.
    At least Obama has a brain, his style seems to be to weigh up all the options(his enemies call it dithering), decide on a course of action and then get it done.

  • Comment number 87.

    82. At 2:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, George wrote:
    "No. It is not important. Obama is the worst president the US has ever had. He is powerless, other than in ruining the US economy in the name of communism".

    I think you may find you have George W Bush to thank for the crashing of the US economy. And amazing how you manage to judge him as 'being the worst president the US has ever had' on just one year in office.

  • Comment number 88.

    12. At 9:41pm on 28 Mar 2010, Yampat wrote:
    Mr Obama is more and more close to Bush tan ever.

    Not really Sir, there is a video out there which is easy to find. It clearly shows the great love and devotion the troops had for Bush and the utter distain and contempt with which they hold Obama.

  • Comment number 89.

    FOR GOODNESS SAKE STOP asking us about Obama and the USA - we are not interested, we are interested in US!
    P.S. Why are the BNP and UKIP etc. not being included in a main TV debate?

  • Comment number 90.

    Hard not to be cynical and misquote, “One miniscule step for Afghanistan, one giant leap for the Obhama re-election stakes!”
    ½ an half of sophistry and “sincere” respect for “our boys”, a briefing session for the puppet. The point!
    Expect to see Brown, Cameron, even Glegg out there soon!
    There is an election to win!

  • Comment number 91.

    48. At 08:26am on 29 Mar 2010, Bob Smyth wrote:
    During his visit, perhaps President Obama could ask President Karzai whether he and his government are more interested in spreading Islam than the economic well-being of Afghanistan and its people? They appear to be.

    Afghanistan's constitution declares the supremacy of the Qur'an and Sharia. No man-made law may contradict these. Just like the Taleban believes.

    A declaration that President Karzai'a government does not seek a return to the 7th century would be welcome.
    ...............

    what does obama´s visit mean for afghanistan?

    not sure really, but it certainly means bob smyth has another opportunity to rant on about islam on HYS.

  • Comment number 92.

    • 82. At 2:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, George wrote:
    No. It is not important. Obama is the worst president the US has ever had. He is powerless, other than in ruining the US economy in the name of communism.
    Your second initial isn’t W is it?

    Ever heard of sub-prime?
    Bush et al, bailed out their banker buddies after the sub-prime fiasco. Freddie and Fanny were in free fall, the private bankers were collapsing and so was the car industry. George W propped them up. Obama made a major mistake, he was not used to dealing with the public! He should have used KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! Remind everyone about the Bush economic collapse and eventually the majority will recognise history from right wing propaganda!

  • Comment number 93.

    As Commander-in-Chief, President Obama has done the right thing by visiting the troops, geeing them up and perhaps equally important to send a clear message to President Karzai that he needs get his house in order and curb nepotism and corruption. America's mission in defeating the Taliban is imperative. Failure to dislodge the Taliban could come to haunt America later on! The Taliban are evil and cruel to the core.

  • Comment number 94.

    89. At 2:54pm on 29 Mar 2010, Ray Evans wrote:
    FOR GOODNESS SAKE STOP asking us about Obama and the USA - we are not interested, we are interested in US!
    P.S. Why are the BNP and UKIP etc. not being included in a main TV debate?

    Speak for yourself mate, some of us ARE interested in world politics.

  • Comment number 95.

    I guess every tyrant wants to see the carnage they cause and the goose stepping military that does the evil work for them.

    Hey Mr. Obama, hows are poppy fields growing. Are the crops ready for harvest yet? The CIA is waiting to deliver the yield.

  • Comment number 96.

    President Obama's visit will have served to bolster the morale of the troups and will encourage the Afghans to support President Karzai in the struggle to eliminate Al-Kaeda, the Taliban and like-minded extremists.

  • Comment number 97.

    President Obama's visit boosts morale of coalition forces, reaffirms U.S. commitment to Afghanistan,and sends a strong message to the Taliban and neighboring countries supporting them. But Obama's visit, however, had some negative points. His trip was unannounced, showing that despite 9 years of presence, the U.S. President couldn't visit Kabul with ease. Second, he lashed out at President Karzai yet again, instead of ameliorating strained relations between the two. Obama and his team's thorny relationship with Karzai has hindered political progress, has earned U.S. rivals such as Iran and Russia a foothold in Afghanistan (as witnessed in Ahmadinejad's recent visit to Kabul and his tirade against U.S.), and makes the Afghan President align himself with warlords and powerbrokers, because he lacks U.S. support.

  • Comment number 98.

    Muhammad Zaman wrote:
    The presence of the Taliban mentality is, and should be, an embarrassment to any right minded Muslim, including myself.

    The state of Afghanistan ought to be an embarrassment to the Afghans themselves and to the rest of the Islamic world which should have helped remove the Taliban before NATO needed to (instead of merely criticizing NATO), and before they and their al-Qaeda allies had a chance to murder innocent men, women and children; Muslim and non-Muslims; in and out of Afghanistan.



    Embarrassment is free, take as much as you want, I for one want no part of it. It has been amply recorded in the Western media that Taliban as well as Al-Qaida were initiated as an organizations by the CIA, although they exploited an already existing mindset.

    Pakistan’s secular Icon, Benazeer has publicly admitted to creating Taliban. Just over the past few months Hillary and Zardari confirmed the same.

    The armed conflict in Afghanistan is between two extremisms, Taliban/Al-Qaida’s religious extremism and Western/Zionist racial extremism. The right minded Muslims, including myself are sitting this one out except for the concern for the civilians.

    The current state of Afghanistan is ought to be more of an embarrassment to the West than to the Muslims.

    Taliban’s mentality is unusual because of their willingness to die, not because of their willingness to kill. There is no dearth of killers in this world, from Gaza to Gujarat to Guantanamo.

  • Comment number 99.

    Pres Obama has been gifted this war by an incompetent administration which not only sunk the economy(Housing sub-prime mess) for eight long years , he could have visited Afghanistan earlier too but thanks to the 'dog in the manger' attitude of US GOP law makers for the health reforms bill , he had to delay all his international commitments.

  • Comment number 100.

    82. At 2:04pm on 29 Mar 2010, George wrote:
    "No. It is not important. Obama is the worst president the US has ever had. He is powerless, other than in ruining the US economy in the name of communism".

    The, above, is incredible especially after suffering George Bush for 8 years. The damage to the economy occurred on George's watch. The 'communist ' style bailouts of banks and the Republican's industries was proposed by George who, in the last days of HIS presidency had to secure a reluctant agreement to vote for these handouts to Wall Street from Obama. Obama has succeeded in introducing a new health care measure that has eluded other presidents, proving that he is not 'powerless'.
    Republicans, who despise 'welfare', fail to acknowledge that, in I F Stone's words, 'The rich march on Washington every week'! As for worst Presidents, the four very worst are James Buchanan (who allowed the rift between Northern and Southern States), Warren Harding, (inactive against corruption), Calvin Coolidge (the author of the Great Depression) and dear old George W Bush, a greedy, lying, warmonger with no positive achievements to his name, who gave away his authority to the likes of Dick Cheyney (Haliburton inc.) and Rumsfeld (Dr Strangelove).He is also responsible for the Guantanamo Bay prison and the anti-American McCarthyite 'Patriot Act'.

    Yes, President Obama's visit is important. If anyone can bring any good out of this mess that George and his vicious friends got the US into, it is Obama.

 

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