President Barack Obama showed up in Afghanistan today.
President Obama made a surprise trip here on Tuesday to sign a landmark strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan in a midnight ceremony meant to mark the beginning of the end of a war that has lasted for more than a decade.
Mr. Obama arrived after nightfall under a veil of secrecy at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul. He then flew by helicopter to the presidential palace, where he and President Hamid Karzai signed the pact, which is intended to be a road map for two nations lashed together by war and groping for a new relationship after the departure of American troops, scheduled for the end of 2014.
“With this agreement the Afghan people, and the world, should know that Afghanistan has a friend and a partner in the United States,” Mr. Obama declared as the Afghan leader looked on. “With this agreement, I am confident that the Afghan people will understand that the United States will stand by them.”