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President Bush Visits Afghanistan, Iraq

  • VOA News

U.S. President George Bush has arrived in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Mr. Bush's plane landed in darkness Monday at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, where he was to hold a rally with U.S. troops.

Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One, Mr. Bush said the mission in Afghanistan has not changed. The president said the troops there are engaged in a quiet surge that has resulted in higher casualties because they are occupying new areas.

On Sunday, Mr. Bush made another unannounced visit to Iraq for a farewell visit with troops and government officials. During a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an Iraqi television correspondent (Montazar al-Zaydi for Al-Baghdadiya) called Mr. Bush a "dog" in Arabic and then threw his shoes at the president. The shoes narrowly missed their target, and security officials dragged the reporter out of the room, as other Iraqi reporters apologized. In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.

Mr. Bush later joked about the incident, saying he did not feel threatened. While in Baghdad, Mr. Bush signed a joint statement with Mr. Maliki regarding the new U.S.-Iraq security agreement.REST OPT The U.S.-Iraq security agreement, which Iraq's parliament approved last month, would have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by 2011.

After leaving Baghdad, Mr. Bush told reporters he had noticed Iraqi citizens outside at night, including children playing soccer. He also remarked on how well lit Baghdad appeared at night, a sign of progress restoring electric service to the city's neighborhoods.

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