Obama In Afghanistan On Surprise Trip

U.S. President Barack Obama is in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit that is expected to last several hours.

Mr. Obama landed at the Bagram military base north of Kabul Sunday and was flown by helicopter to the presidential palace for meetings with Afghan Preisent Hamid Karzai and other top officials. He also planned to meet U.S. military officers and troops for a briefing on the offensive against Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones told reporters that Mr. Obama is meeting with President Karzai to impress on him the need to "battle the things that have not been paid attention to almost since day one." General Jones did not elaborate, but U.S. officials have pushed for stronger Afghan government efforts against corruption and drugs, and to build credible government services.

During Mr. Obama's first year in office, his administration has shifted attention from the war in Iraq, where the United States is reducing its presence, to Afghanistan, where Mr. Obama sent some 30,000 additional troops.

In the past year tensions have risen between the Obama and Karzai administrations after the Afghan leader won a controversial re-election that was marred by widespread fraud.

Mr. Obama is expected to leave Afghanistan before sunrise Monday and be back in Washington by Monday morning.

This is his first trip as commander in chief to Afghanistan. He made a similar unannounced trip to Iraq last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.