4 Dec 2010

Obama makes second visit to Afghanistan

6:30 pm on 4 December 2010

United States President Barack Obama has praised American troops for their service in Afghanistan on a surprise visit to the country.

Mr Obama spent four hours at Bagram airbase, outside the Afghan capital, but had to cancel a planned helicopter trip to Kabul to meet his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai because of bad weather.

Instead, the two leaders spoke by telephone for about 15 minutes.

At the airfield, Mr Obama met with the commander of coalition forces, General David Petraeus.

He also addressed troops, telling them the US is pursuing the right strategy and is succeeding in the nine-year-old war against Islamist militants.

It is the president's second visit to Afghanistan as president - the first was in March.

Mr Obama ordered the deployment of an extra 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan. His national security team is due to report on a new strategy later this month.