The US President has emphasised his support for Afghanistan during a surprise stop-over there on his way to India. With an insurgency still active, the visit has taken place amid tight security. This is George W. Bush’s first trip to the country, where he is accompanied by his wife Laura, since the US-led overthrow of the Taliban. Afghan President Hamid Karzai thanked the US President for his support of the fledgling democracy:
“Our great supporter, a man that helped us liberate, a man that helped us rebuild, a man that helped us move towards the future.”
Bush described Karzai’s Afghanistan as an inspiration:
“We are impressed by the progress that your country is making Mr President, a lot of it has to do with your leadership. Today, I not only had a good long visit with my friend the President but we also had a good visit with a lot of folks that make this government work.”
There are some 20,000 US troops stationed in the country hunting for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. Bush is to pay the soldiers a visit to thank them personally for their service. The US leader’s visit comes as some 40 suspected foreign Islamic fighters have been killed by Pakistani troops along the country’s border with Afghanistan.