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Karzai told of Obama visit one hour before touchdown

world Updated: Mar 29, 2010 12:03 IST
IANS
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US President Barack Obama's visit to Kabul was shrouded in secrecy and even Afghan President Hamid Karzai was informed about his visit barely an hour before he arrived, a media report said on Monday.

Karzai was notified about the visit just an hour before he arrived, Daily Mail quoted the White House as saying.

Obama on Sunday made his first visit to Afghanistan after taking office.

White House aides kept Obama's trip under a veil of secrecy as they feared a Taliban ambush.

He landed in Afghanistan under the cover of darkness for a stay that lasted barely a few hours following an overnight flight from Washington. Obama flew by helicopter from Bagram airfield to Kabul where he met Karzai at the presidential palace.

There had been no advancement announcement of the Afghanistan trip by the White House.

Obama went to the presidential retreat at Camp David Friday afternoon, from which discreet departures are easier as it is secluded.

Daily Mail stated that the contingent of White House aides and media allowed on the trip were sworn to secrecy and the White House allowed details of Obama's activities on the ground to be reported only after they were under way.

"We plan to engage President Karzai to make him understand that in his second term there are certain things that have not been paid attention to, almost since day one.

"That is things like a merit-based system for appointment of key government officials, battling corruption, taking the fight to the narco-traffickers, which ... provides a lot of the economic engine for the insurgents," security advisor James Jones was quoted as saying.

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