Biden to Assess Progress in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2011 - Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Afghanistan today for a previously unannounced visit that White House officials said is designed to assess progress and reinforce the U.S. commitment.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to speak to U.S. service members and civilians, and to visit an Afghan army training center.

This is Biden's first trip to Afghanistan as vice president. He was greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry; Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO military commander in Afghanistan; and three Afghan officials.

A White House official said the vice president will assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. He also will meet with Petraeus and Eikenberry to get an "update from them on the situation on the ground," the official added.

Biden and Karzai are scheduled to have lunch together during the trip, and are scheduled to participate in an expanded meeting with officials from both countries.

Biden last visited Afghanistan in 2009 as vice president-elect.

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