US Vice President Makes Unannounced Visit to Afghanistan

Pence Balkan Adriatic Charter Summit
US Vice President Mike Pence.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived on an unannounced pre-Christmas visit to Afghanistan Thursday, becoming the most senior Trump administration official to visit troops fighting a 17-year-old conflict that has largely receded from U.S. public view.

Flying secretly through the day and night on a standard unmarked U.S. Air Force C-17, Mr. Pence corkscrewed into Bagram Airforce Base, where he thanked some of the roughly 15,000 U.S. personnel still hoping to turn the tide of America’s longest-ever war.

Mr. Pence’s visit also included a perilous helicopter dash from Bagram into the heart of the capital Kabul to meet President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom the United States is counting on to help rebuild this war-shattered country.

“We’ve been on a long road together” he said, adding: “We are here to see this through.”