May 1 - President Obama marked the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's with an address to Americans from Afghanistan. Deborah Gembara reports.
President Barack Obama's trip to Afghanistan was not announced ahead of time. But, its timing was clearly strategic --- Obama arrived at Bagram Air Base on the first anniversary of the military raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In an address from Bagram, the president sought to remind Americans that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan is drawing to a close. SOUNDBITE: U.S. president Barack Obama saying: "My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm's way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. He also pointed to the success of the Special Forces raid in Pakistan one year earlier as he thanked U.S. troops for their service. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "Time and again, they have answered the call to serve in distant and dangerous places. In an age when so many institutions have come up short, these Americans stood tall. They met their responsibilities to one another, and the flag they serve under. I just met with some of them, and told them that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder. In their faces, we see what is best in ourselves and our country." The president is also looking to reassure Afghans that Washington is not abandoning them. SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama saying: "International troops will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghans, and fight alongside them when needed. But we will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward." Obama will host NATO leaders in Chicago later this month to discuss the specifics of troop withdrawals and to look at ways to ensure that Afghanistan does not collapse into civil war. Deborah Gembara, Reuters