President Obama has told American troops during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan that they are making important progress fighting insurgents.
White House officials said the main purpose of the trip to a US airbase outside Kabul was to boost morale around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Despite the increasingly unpopular nine-year-old war, the president struck a positive note.
“Today we can be proud that there are fewer areas under Taliban control, and more Afghans have the chance to built a more hopeful future,” he said. “As your commander-in-chief, I also wanted you to know that we will do whatever it takes to make sure you have the strategy, the resources and the equipment and leadership to get this done.”
Amid tension over the planned handover of control to Afghan forces, Obama was due to fly by helicopter to Kabul to meet President Karzai.
The trip was cancelled because of bad weather; the two leaders spoke by phone instead.
WikiLeaks has revealed that US diplomatic cables had described the Afghan president as weak.