President Obama makes a surprise trip to Afghanistan

7:33 AM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images.

(NBC) -- Explosions, gunfire, and death in Afghanistan, just hours after President Obama made a surprise visit there.

He addressed the nation in a live televised speech on the anniversary of the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

He admitted we could still see tough times ahead but insisted 2014 is a hard and fast deadline for u-s troops to come home. "This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end," said The President.

Shortly after arriving under cover of darkness, President Obama signed a partnership agreement promising support after the war in Afghanistan ends in 2014. "We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda," said President Barack Obama.

The agreement does not say how many troops will stay. "20,000 troops spread all over the country as advisers without much combat capability would be too much at risk," said General Barry McCaffrey, U.S. Army, Retired.

Critics argue we can't afford to leave too many soldiers there. "The thing that will take this country down, is not al Qaeda, it is spending money we don't have on things we don't need and creating a debt that will totally shackle our children," said Senator Tom Coburn, (R) Oklahoma.

During his six-hour surprise visit, on the anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama spoke to troops at Bagram air base.

Hours later, a car bomb exploded in Kabul, killing at least six people. Later, there were more explosions and gunfire that lasted for several hours. The Taliban said it was in response to the President's visit.

Back home, Mitt Romney again backed off earlier criticism of Mr. Obama's decision to go after Bin Laden. "Had I been President of the United States I would have made the same decision the President made which was to get rid of him," said Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

The President is out of Afghanistan now, headed home. He's expected back in Washington this afternoon.



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