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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  May 1, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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so get the insurance responsible drivers like you deserve. call us at... or visit your local liberty mutual office, where an agent can help you find the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? top of tf of the hour. a terror blot here at home. the feds say this frgroup of a anarchists are accused of wanting to blow up a bridge in ohio. the target here, a four lane bridge in cleveland. but get this, the fbi says it controlled the plot the entire time. under cover and the public was never ever in danger.
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so coming up, more on that alleged plot and how they planned to distract place. but first breaking news. i'm hearing now president obama has made a surprise visit to afghanistan baghram air base. he's now left? over the last four months, forgive me, i'm just getting the information, the president has lived in afghanistan. so again, will this is significant about a think about what's happened over the last couple months in this afghanistan. you have a sergeant who walked in to one of the villages and shot and killed 17 civilians. that was just a couple months ago go. you also have a couple months ago korans being accidentally torched and that led to anti-american violence erupt
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manage afghanistan and just recently, we saw pictures of december desecrated corpses. so the president walks in to this. one would presume he's meeting with karzai. the last time he was in afghanistan, bagham december 3rd, 2010. so 1 1/2 years. the president we're just learning as we're a couple minutes away from the white house briefing. we'll get more detail about the timing of the trip. keep in mind, it was this evening one year ago when we saw the president deliver the news that he and thanks to s.e.a.l. team 6 had taken out the most wanted criminal in the world, osama bin laden. so this happening on the one year death anniversary of osama bin laden. we have john king standing by in washington with a little bit
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more on the news here. john, clear this up for me. we know that he has just arrived in afghanistan. what more do we know and the purpose of the trip here? >> reporter: the white house is obviously being careful about the tick tock of the president's movements because of security concerns, but we can report that the president has landed safely in afghanistan, he flu there year night from the the united states. obviously he is there on the one year anniversary of the raid across the border in pakistan that led to the death of osama bin laden. we also know the president will address the nation tonight in the 7:00 hour, 7:30 p.m., he will address the nation from afghanistan. and we know while there he is scheduled to meet with the afghan president, hamid karzai and the two ledder leaders ared to sign a extstrategic agreemen between the two countries. this would create an alliance between the two countries essentially saying about this
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the years going forward when the u.s. combat troops are out of afghanistan, there would still be training and cooperation between the two countries. that has been morimportant to t united states to have a footprint in afghanistan going forward and as the country marks one year since the death of osama bin laden, there are still big questions about the security situation in afghanistan. you were talking about occasional problems with the taliban. and this is separate from the bin laden anniversary, but will have been questions for a decade now about corruption in the afghan government. to get the afghan government up to the point where it has the confidence of its people. so that it makes it heartit har taliban to come back. >> i'm going to bring in this
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fareed zakari. we have heard reports of president obama and president karzai will be signing this memorandum of understanding. we've heard reports about this this significant pact that we now are hearing will be signed. which i think lot of americans don't realize even though the majority of our troops will be drawing down in 2014, it really extends for another decade that the united states will still have a presence there militarily, but also financially, as well. >> exactly. this this agreement is meant to deal with two issues, one is a lon te long term issue and a short term issue. the long term issue is that president obama has decided to drawdown troop mis-afghanistan. that led a lot of people to say, look, if you're going to drawdown troops, you're signaling to the taliban that you're getting out of there, that afghanistan is open game for them. usual signaling that the united states is gone.
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everyone need z to start making calculations based on the idea that there will be no miles per hour presenamerican presence in afghanistan. this is meant to say there won't be 90,000 troops in afghanistan, but we will be a partner, we will be strategically involved. we will even have some kind of military association with afghanistan long past 2014 which is the date at which the last u.s. troops are supposed to leave under current plans. the second part of this of course is to demonstrate that the last two months as you mentioned have seen a series of unfortunate episodes of various kinds. the sergeant, the burning of the korans and this agreement is meant to say, look, we understand these things happen, but there is a u.s./afghan partnership, a strategic relationship and that continues. >> given what we have been reporting on, though, to an fly on the wall of the conversation between president obama and president karzai, but what conversation is he really
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walking into, what ultimately is the goal walking out of that? >> i think that both karzai and president obama are serious about the long term national interests of their country. karzai whom i've spoken to many times has his complaints with the united states on tack tactical issues. but on the the question of should afghanistan be tied allied with the united states, he's very clear and has been clear from day one. so i suspect he, too, needses to right things because his public opinion has been veering in a dangerous direction. for president obama, i think what he's trying to signal as to all the regional players there, don't think that we're leaving. we're still going to be a presence. you have to take us into account. we're not going anywhere. even though we may not have 90,000 troops, we will still be a strong presence there. so i think the two of them will find a way on have a meeting of minds. i think both will try to put behind them these unfortunate episodes which frankly are not
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representative of the broader relationship between the united states and afghanistan. >> fareed zakari, thank you so much. stand by for me. we're learning breaking news that president obama is in afghanistan. to be clear, he's making a surprise visit in afghanistan under the cover of darkness. he's meeting with president karzai. what more do we know about will trip? >> it's a dramatic moment and still hard to believe that ten years after the war in afghanistan started after 9/11, the president of the united states still can't arrive in afghanistan under normal circumstances, has to go through all of these extraordinary security precautions in order to protect his security, the security of other u.s. men and women who are traveling with him. if it says a lot about what's going on in afghanistan. this is a very sensitive delicate mission under way right now. let me bring in brianna keilar.
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throughout the day, withere hav been these rumors that the president was doing something extraordinary and for security reason, no owoone wants to talk about where he is. but set the scene for us. what did they say at the white house where he was, what he was doing, what was on his schedule. because we now know what he actually was doing. >> when you looked as his public schedule, he had a lot of meetings and i think the expectati expectation, that the president may be overseas. i think that a lot of people thought because the president was kicking off his reelection in a major way on saturday, that would be some time set aside for on work on that this week. we were told there would be a briefing at 3:00 p.m. so the pieces kind of came
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together. but it was several hours after the president left the white house, it's a 13 hour flight. and you know, it's pretty hard to hide the president of the united states. local reports started coming out from afghanistan. of course because of the security reason, it wasn't reported until the president was on the ground an even then, the full report came out about an hour and some minutes after the president had landed in kabul. >> and there's who doubt this is very, very sensitive material chris lawrence, the defense secretary leon panetta, do we know where he is, is he with the president in afghanistan for this major security agreement signing ceremony? >> we're told the secretary is not with the president, that he was not raffling to afghanistan on this trip. but the pentagon recently just this week released a major
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report on what's happening there and it's maiks of good and bad news for president obama as he signs this historic agreement. on the plus side, you can look at a decrease in violence. for about five year, violence was going up every single year. then in 2011, violence went down about 9% and so far this year, down another 16%. that's not to say there are not challenges there. the report also found that there are acute challenges with the agreement with pakistan and with the relationship in pakistan because that is where the sanctuaries of the leaders -- >> chris, let me interrupt you for a second. this is new video we're just getting in on the president's arrival in afghanistan. he's h. he's received by u.s. military person medical. ahead of the nato operation, the biggest part of that may toe operation, u.s. troops.
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you see he landed there in the middle of the night. there's a major time difference between east coast of the united states and afghanistan. john king is with me here in washington. we've covered presidents who have made these surprise visits whether to afghanistan, to iraq, and we see this president doing so so right now. describe how secure, hour dangerous potentially this is for an american president aboard air force one, some sort of huge plane landing still so many years after 9/11. >> i took a trip several years ago with president george w. bush when he made the first trip to iraq after maliki assumed power. that is a powerful symbol on the world stage. when we landed, president bush insisted on bringing air force one. president obama has insisted doing that here. your advice is to switch to a
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military plane which is a bit less obvious, if you will. but that's a powerful symbol, the flag of the united states government and the making ship of the military fleet this on the ground in afghanistan. when we took this trip, we were told we were given secret briefings. we were told we were not supposed to tell our family, tell our bosses and to keep it as secret as possible. then when you got on the plane, they take away all your electronic devices. on air force one, there's the television with a washington time, how long is the flight, all that was turned off on the rip when we came close to landing just so there would be no silhouette.trip when we came landing just so there would be no silhouette. no electronic signals coming from the plane. imagine sitting in your car revving the engine. they were revving the engine it was trembling at bit. and we took off almost straight up like a rocket. >> and you sort of landed in that spin because you don't want to spend too much time
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overground. >> right, come down as quickly as possible. saw some trace of fire. you could you hear mortar fire. the question they could never answer was that directed he president or was it just normal mortar fire that happened at that time back in those days in the green zone in iraq. obviously afghanistan is more secure now than it was five or ten years ago. iraq on that trip was at a dicey time. but they always take huge precautions and this is a hard difficult security environment anyway. you see theicopters flying will. and there have been some concern, no specific threat, but concerns that here in the united states and around the world, either al qaeda elements or sympathizers might try to do some damage. >> and just to be precise, you see air force one, that huge 747, that plane landed at bag
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gram air field 1:50 p.m. eastern time.president was immediately transferred to waiting held cop pers temperature the president landed in kabul at 2:39 p.m. eastern time. he motored to the presidential palace where hamid karzai where they're expected to sign this strategic operation agreement. all of this unfolding very, very rapidly. all of it unfolding in the middle of the night in fareed zakari is watching it. amazing that they have to do it in the middle of the night and it speaking volumes to me about what's going on in afghanistan. >> wolf, you started with that point and i think it is actually in some ways the most important point. this is america's longest war. this agreement in fact ensures
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that this will be america's longest military engagement by far. and so it he will teltells you entered in to a no man's zone, an unending conflict that we frankly don't know if it is going to end. because if the goal is a stable afghanistan with none of these war in-facts going after one another, that might take a very long time. and what i think the obama administration is trying to do is to set some kind of framework in which there will be american assistance and help, but we don't have to be fighting a war as it were. but think about it, even under the good case scenario, this will go on until 2014 which means we will have that hhave h decade and it's difficult to believe there will be any clean resolution. i thinks's fair to say that it is quite likely that this will be a conflict that the united states will be engaged in for 20
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years. >> right now the u.s. still has about 90,000 troops in afghanistan. some combat portion porforces leaving later this year. the agreement that they're signing tonight will be an agreement for post-2014. stand by for a moment. you see air force one that landed about an hour and a half or so ago at the bagram air field. the president is in the presidential palace right no with karzai. it's now after midnight in kabul. pick p nick payton walsh is in kabul. what do we expect, what are afghan officials and u.s. officials in the afghan capital telling us? >> it has been a blanket of complete secrecy, shattered i must say about six hours ago where became clear afghan media
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reporting the possibility of a presidential visit here by barack obama about that that was immediately quashed buyer same statements by u.s. officials and everybody afghan officials desperate to keep this this rare trip under a say of svail of se. initially he went to bagram to meet troops there and then on to the afghan presidential palace in the heart of kabul here. locals remarking on the silence that key extended over the city. lockdown in some areas. and a real sense that something was about to happen, but nobody willing to really confirm what that was for obvious reasons. and i heard about an hour ago helicopters passing overhead, the first of the nirght. normally a heavy prepares, but noticeably absent all evening and then suddenly we heard this
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will. confirmation that something may be of a foot, but now of course we're hearing he is in the presidential palace, may already have been moving onwards and has signed will this crucial strategic partnership agreement. it's basically a document sort of symbolic embrace between washington and kabul. doesn't hammer out financial commitments. it doesn't talk about troop numbers, but it does talk about the kind of relationship the two countries want too ha have afte this incredibly rocky four months. w washington and a kabul wanted to see some sort of positive same ahead of this vital summit in chicago where may to nato natio supposed to layout the what they want the years ahead.
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>> there you see the president just walking down the stairs from air force one at the bagram air base received by the u.s. ambassador ryan crocker. i'm sure general john allen will be seeing the president,s as well. it's well after midnight in the afghan capital. they are getting ready to sign the strategic cooperation agreement between the united states and afghanistan. the president by the way will also be addressing the nation, the american people indeed the world from afghanistan 7:30 p.m. eastern later tonight. a major address announcing the agreement. all of this happening exactly to the day one year after the killing of osama bin laden. we'll take a quick break. continue the breaking news coverage right here on cnn. thiss an rc robotic claw. my high school science teacher made me what i am today. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers. it has four servo motors and a wireless microcontroller.
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there you see the president walk off of air force one at the bagram air force base. he took a military helicopter flight to kabul. he's meeting with president karzai. he'll be going to bagram meeting with troops and then addressing the american people at 7:30 p.m. eastern later tonight. a live address from afghanistan. john king is here watching all
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of this unfold. john, this isn't a important speech that the president is going to be giving . and it comes on the first anniversary of osama bin laden's killing. >> not company insiincidentally. this is an important policy visit to the afghanistan. it's an important interim agreement between the two countries. they need to negotiate troop levels. but it's a very important policy moment for the president. but let's in the lose sight of the fact that we're may first in an election year, a very competitive election year, one year to the day since the raid that killed osama bin laden. so the president tonight in the very country where al qaeda camps, he will not only say he has a new agreement with the afghan president, he will be speaking on the one year anniversary and he'll be talking about winding down the american military commitment in afghanistan.
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i would not be surprised it if he makes note of the fact that that comes after he wound down the military commitment to iraq 37 so an important speech, but also an important political moment. many republicans saying he's overpoliticizing his role in the death of bin laden. but he was commander in chief who authorized the raid and he certainly deserves credit for that. this is front and center in what is a very contentious election year that will be largely about the economy, but you have a democratic commander in chief who can lay significant claim to important achievements in what george w. bush used to call the wore on terror. obama administration doesn't like that language. >> brianna keilar is at the white house. there is into doubt the president deserves an enormous amount of credit for giving the
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order to accepted that navy s.e.a.l. oig team 6 into pakistan, into bin laden's compound. there were senior advisers to the president including vice president joe biden and the then secretary of defense bob gates who said maybe this wasn't such a good idea, but the president overruled them and said let's do it and of course we all know what happened. what about the criticism that will no doubt unfold, what are they saying at the white house that the president is doing this victory lap if you will spiking the football for political purposes? >> at the white house, officials have said the president is not overcelebrating the death of osama bin laden. as we've heard criticism from a number of republicans. we haven't really heard any criticism coming from republicans yet, the news here is so fresh that president obama
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is in afghanistan. but the fact is no matter how much really politics president obama may make of the death of osama bin laden today and now in this high profile visit to afghanistan, politically this is a trip that can serve him well. when you talk about sort of his accomplishments, the thing that he has sought to do as a president, taking out osama bin laden is one that is harder to debate than, say, his treatment of the economy or passage of health care reform, other things that he is hit by republicans on and lately certainly the obama campaign has tried to minimize some of that criticism or really tried to hit back on the criticism from for instance those in the romney camp who are obviously trying to main minimize this will accomplishment. >> we're getting ready to hear from the president, he'll be speaking to the nation 7:30 p.m. eastern.
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right now meeting with president karzai. getting ready for sign the strategic partnership agreement. they'll have thousands of troops in afghanistan for another 2 1/2 years unit the end of 2014. this is an agreement that works out a formula and a lot of the details still must be resolved on what happens after 2014 in the u.s./afghan relationship. they've been working on this long term security cooperation agreement for a long, long time. we'll resume the coverage right after this. v[ñ?ñ=k-r;ñ9rcv1i[aorowv-s÷73vu? [ female announcer ] e-trade technology can help make you a better investor. our new e-trade 360 investing dashboard shows you where your money is, live. e-trade pro is so usable you'll actually use it. and our apps are the ultimate in mobile investing. become a better investor at e-trade.
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i tell you what i can spend. i do my best to make it work. i'm back on the road safely. and i saved you money on brakes. that's personal pricing. major breaking news. a surprise visit, the president arrived almost two hours or so ago at kabul at the bagram air base. he's now meeting with ham mid karzai, getting ready to sign the long term strategic cooperation agreement between upd and afghanistan.getting rea term strategic cooperation agreement between upd and afghanistan. what happens after 1014of a 201y
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u.s. and i had will be proviid . they have a framework agreement that they've been working on for a long time. they resolved it only in the last few weeks. now the formal signing ceremony, the president flying over to afghanistan to actually sign the documents together with karzai. they'll be observers there from both sides. the president will meet with troops and then address the american people live from kabul. that address around 7:30 p.m. eastern. chris lawrence is at the pentagon. give us a sense about what defense department physicians believe t officials believe the u.s. role will be after 2014. >> they think it's some what robust. the exact size of the force
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still has to be worked out. in fact you mentioned what's going to be the size of the force post 2014. we don't even know what the side of the force will be next year. we know there's 90,000 american troops in afrg right now. afghanistan right now. that number will drop to about 68,000 by the fall. big question is how many of those 68,000 americans will still be fighting in afghanistan this team next year. general john allen threw out that number as a number to go in with. in other words, that's sort of his starting point. 68,000. if the president were to choose that, empty definitely have allies among in some republicans on capitol hill like senator john mccain who have been arguing for a very robust u.s. presence right up until the very
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end. of course you have people on the other side saying the drawdown needs to speed up. >> the longest war in u.s. history. the former cia officer, cnn con trip butte to contribute tore joining us. bob, the u.s. deployed troops to afghanistan, now may 2012, the u.s. still has almost 90,000 troops in afghanistan. trying to work out a strategic plan. as you you take a look at will this, what goes through your mind as we a wait the president getti getting ready to address the american people? >> going back to act 2001, it was a very easy victory.
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small cia teams went will in with the special forces. they moved very quickly. the taliban caved under bombardment. we took the country in months. the problem is we stayed too long and as happens in afghanistan, one of the ethnic flur rality of the country have resisted. and they've gone into a resistance combined with remnant of al qaeda and it's still continuing to simmer and it won't be a clear victory even in 2014. >> we don't know what will happen in a few weeks or months in afghanistan. let alone 2014. p we know karzai has been in business there basically since the end of 2001, he was elected. he remains in power right how. all of our reporters stand by. we'll resume the coverage,
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president of the united states in s. is this kabul right now. they're about to sign an historic long term strategic corporation agreement.
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the president arrived at bagram air base about two hours or so ago. this is videotape that has been fed in. the president then boarded a military helicopter and flew to kabul and drove to the presidential palace to meet the with karzai, the president of conversation. they a
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afghanistan. they're getting to sign will it strategic cooperation agreement. this will be a formal signing say money a ceremony and at 7:30, the president will be delivering an address to the american people and also meeting with u.s. military personnel in afghanistan. all this happening on the first anniversary of the killing of osama bin laden. nick payton walsh is in kabul for us. set the scene for us. we know the rumors had been wild throughout the day in the afghan capital. we assume he's very secure inside that presidential balance has. but all of this was stop secret given the security precautions that are necessary to protect the president of the united states. first of all, tell our viewers what time it is in afghanistan and what's going on. >> we're just past midnight. about six hours ago, one of the
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leading tv stations broke the news. many immediately denied that. i heard from one afghan pishl that in fact presidential palace staff were asked to go home around about midday sparking rumors that there may be some sort of vip visit. as you say, he's been to bagram. and of course now on to the presidential palace in kabul where they should sign the partnership agreement. >> nick, stand by. gloria borger is with me. as we look at the video coming in, you're working your sources. what are you hearing >> i've just been communicating via e-mail with a senior white house advise who are is actually with the president in kabul and i asked him the question what
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are you going to do when republicans charge that this political. it's a political trip, we've already had a back and forth on the killing of osama bin laden and whether the president was spiking the football or not a little bit. and his response is we're here to sign a very important agreement that helps bring this war to it a close. the president was going to spend today with the troops. and what better day than today. so not really an answer to my question. it's clear the democrats do not want to cede the national security issue to the republicans. they know this war 7 out of 10 opposed the war in afghanistan. they want to show that this is a president who is bringing it to a close. and as will this aid points out, what better day to do it than today. i'm sure some republicans will have something to say about it, but he is a president going to
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spend time with the rotroops. >> and nothing wrong with that. and as i've been pointing out, it does speak volumes that the presidented of the united states still cannot arrive in afghanistan in daylight, make an announcement, he has to do all of this in top secret security arrangements. and that they can can't even have the signing ceremony in daylight. they have to do it in the middle of the night. it will be 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. in afghanistan their time when they finally do this and it speaks volumes to what's going on, how delicate this situation remains right now. the speech he's going to give at 7:30 p.m. eastern, we'll have live coverage. it will be a very important speech not only substantively, but it comes in the context of a presidential campaign. >> and this is a white house that clearly doesn't want to be
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to what george w. bush did on the aircraft carrier. they want to say this was a war that we need orded to get out o. and as you know, republicans are complaining about this time table for withdrawal. they don't think there should be a set time table, they believe it lets your enemies know exactly what you're up to. so this this will be an issue no doubt in the presidential campaign, but it is also not as if republicans are saying we ought to say in afghanistan for the next ten years in a combat role. >> obviously a very sensitive issue indeed. all right. i think we'll take another quick break. we'll continue our special coverage here on cnn right after this. v[ñ?ñ=k-r;ñ9rcv1i[aorowv-s÷73vu?
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we're watching breaking news out of afghanistan.
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president obama has flown over and landed he bagram air base, then getting on a military helicopter, flying to kabul, then getting into a motorcade heading over to presidential palace to meet with the president of afghanistan. all of this designed to sign this long term security cooperation agreement between the united states and afghanistan. and agreement that's been in the works for months now. spelling out a general framework of what happens after 2014. all u.s. and nato troops are supposed to be out of afghanistan by the end of 2014. although there will be a residual u.s. force. how many remains to be determined. their exact functions remains to be determined. how much u.s. economic and military assistance in the billions of dollars will be provided to afghanistan, that all has to be worked out. what about the european allies. nato allies.
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how much aid do they provide. all of these details still up in the air. we're watching all of it unfold. the president will culminate his few hour visit before returning to andrews air force base o outside of washington, d.c. with an address to the american people 7:30 p.m. eastern time from afghanistan on this strategic cooperation signing ceremony. brianna keilar is our white house correspondent watching all of this unfold. the president flew over on air force one as i said, a 13 hour flight from andrews air base outside of washington to the bagram air base. and now on the ground presumably having meetings with karzai. what are officials at the white house saying about all of this will some i assu? i assume it's been in the works for weeks. >> certainly that would be the expectation.
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i've been checking in with some republicans who have been critical of president obama or certainly hair thetheir bosses n it comes to the white house's treatment of this anniversary of the death of osama bin laden. because obviously this is quite extraordinary. it doesn't happen very often, this rip coming amid a lot of criticism. i spoke with a spokeswoman for senator john mccain who has certainly led the charge in some of that and what she told me was that the senator is very happy that president obama is there to meet with troops and he will certainly be intently watching his remarks at 7:30 p.m. tonight. and really awaiting those remarks before casting any judgment. i also e-mailed with an adviser on governor mitt romney the president's presumed opponent come november and it seems like the same thing, the republicans are holding fire as they a wait to see what the president will say. we do know, wolf, that the president will make mention of
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osama bin laden. we were talking about is this a coincidence, is this not a coincidence that he's there on this day. it is not a coincidence and certainly that is something that he'll be acknowledging. and i think it's really interesting to note that this doesn't happen very often. this is the president's third trip to afghanistan as president. he did go in 2008 when he was a presidential candidate. and even more where he is right now, the presidential palace, this is something that he doesn't always get to. in fact his last visit in december of 2010, he wasn't able to go because of weather concerns and he wasn't able to physically meet with karzai even though bagram air force base is just 30 some miles north of kabul. so kabul. this is extraordinary that they're meeting right now in kabul, wolf. >> brianna, stand by. nick wal sb in kabul. it's approaching 1:00 a.m. in the middle of the night in kabul. is this a safe time in the
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night? most folks are sleeping and they don't have a clue that the president of the united states is visiting the capital of afghanistan. >> reporter: wolf, the rumors have been running thick and fast since pretty much sundown when a tv station said he was in town and they tried to kill that idea as quickly as possible. this is the very quiet time of night and very few cars around and very few cars around in the evening and much in the center of the evening and very few helicopters in the sky and multiple noises from throughout the evening and only about two hours ago we heard the rumors of a presidential visit and it perhaps was under way and perhaps the president was moving somewhere. as brianna was saying it's been very hard for obama -- it is a place that had been targeted in the past by rocket fire from the
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insurgents and not recently and they have security concerns and i think you'll find that many of them will be learning of it when he's on the direction home. >> there's air force one at the bagram air base. he left bagram about an hour or so ago and flew by military helicopter to the capital of afghanistan. recent polls that cnn and orc put together on the american public's attitude toward afghanistan. the american public doesn't favor this continuing war ten-plus years into it. >> no, in fact our poll shows a 72% of americans oppose the war in afghanistan and a majority of them believe, 61% of them, believe that things are going badly there and so withdrawing
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from afghanistan is clearly something, wolf that is popular in this country. people don't believe we can afford this war anymore. people are not sure what we've received out of it and what the president is doing, i think, partly in going over there in order to spend time with the troops is also to say we are winding down this war. we are offering a strategic embrace to hamid karzai, but not a military embrace any longer after a particular point, although we will have some kind of presence there until 2024, wolf. >> well, the details have to be worked out. >> exactly. >> it is a long-term agreement. >> exactly. >> we don't know how stable that regime of president hamid karzai is going to be. a lot of this is built on wishful thinking, as we say. >> that's right. >> it's been going on way longer than some people thought, if
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someone would have said in october 2001 a month after 9/11 that almost 90,000 u.s. troops would still be in afghanistan in may of 2012 people would have said that's not likely. >> no. and i think this becomes an issue of the economy. when people are worried about their own livelihoods and their future and they see the amount we've been spending in afghanistan it becomes even more of a political problem. >> as i've often pointed out the u.s. is spending $2 billion every single week. every single week in afghanistan maintaining 90,000 u.s. troops there. that's $100 billion a year and that's going to go on at least through the end of 2014. this agreement only deals with what happens after 2014, presumably the price tag to u.s. taxpayers will go down significantly after 2014, but it's still very, very high. let's take another quick break and resume our coverage. we have a lot -- a lot to
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assess, a lot to report. new pictures coming in from of aing of coursa. as well, remember, the president will address the american people from afghanistan 7:30 p.m. eastern tonight.
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we're following breaking news out of afghanistan right now. the president of the united states is in kabul at the presidential palace with hamid karzai the afghan president. they're getting turowed sign a formal long-term, strategic
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cooperation agreement and later, 7:30 p.m. eastern the president of the united states, president obama will address the american people from afghanistan. we'll have all of the breaking news coverage in "the situation room" right after this. -- captions by vitac --
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happening now, breaking news. president obama's in afghanistan and he's catching the world off guard with an unannounced surprise visit one year to the day after the raid that killed
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osama bin laden. we're standing by to hear from president obama. he'll be addressing the nation and the world from afghanistan, talking about the future of u.s. troops and ties between the two countries. also with the presidential campaign in full swing, this day and this trip are steep in politics. we'll talk about all of that and more as we follow the breaking news. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following the breaking news. dramatic developments. president obama's surprise trip to afghanistan exactly one year after the u.s. raid that killed osama bin laden in neighboring pakistan. less than an hour or so ago we got the first word of his arr e arrival at the bagram air base. he is now in kabul meeting with the afghan president hamid karzai to sign a long-term strategic partnership agreement


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