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Heavy security as Mike Pence makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

Mike Pence has made his first visit to Afghanistan (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Mike Pence has made his first visit to Afghanistan (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

US vice president Mike Pence has made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan to meet the country's leaders and visit US troops.

Mr Pence arrived in Afghanistan four months after President Donald Trump outlined a new strategy to break the stalemate in America's longest war.

The surprise visit is the first to the war-torn country by either Mr Trump or the vice president.

Mr Pence landed at Bagram Air Base under heavy security on Thursday.

He met Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, as well as US troops and US military leaders.

Mr Trump released his new strategy for ending the 16-year war in Afghanistan in August.

The president said US troops would "fight to win" by attacking enemies and crushing terrorists.

Mr Pence told Mr Ghani that the US is "here to see this through" as they discussed Mr Trump's new war strategy.

He joined Mr Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah for a Thursday evening meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul.

Mr Pence arrived by helicopter after landing at Bagram Air Base.

Mr Ghani offered Mr Pence his thanks on behalf of a grateful nation and pointed to their common bonds.

Mr Pence said the two countries have been "on a long road together" and have sacrificed much during the 16-year war.

But he said the US is committed to helping Afghanistan achieve peace and security.

The discussions were expected to focus on the implementation of Mr Trump's new Afghanistan strategy, and on upcoming parliamentary elections and the country's presidential election in 2019.


From Belfast Telegraph