By Aliyah Frumin (MSNBC)
President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday for a Memorial Day weekend rally with American troops.
The commander-in-chief left Washington D.C. on Saturday night and landed at the Bagram Airfield just after 8 p.m. on Sunday local time. On board Air Force One was also National Security Advisor Susan Rice, advisor John Podesta (whose son is serving in the country), senior aides Dan Pfeiffer and Ben Rhodes, and country music star Brad Paisley, who planned to sing for the troops.
The president was briefed by U.S. commander in Afghanistan before addressing thousands of troops.
In remarks to the U.S. forces, which lasted about 20 minutes, Obama – wearing an AF-1 bomber jacket – said he was in Afghanistan for a single mission: to thank the troops for their “extraordinary service.” He also reinforced the importance of their mission and reassured them about support for themselves and their family members upon their return home.