President Obama, in Afghanistan after a 13-hour flight shrouded in secrecy, will address the nation Tuesday night after meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and signing a strategic agreement that helps clear the way for eventual U.S. withdrawal from the war-torn country. His address, expected to last 10 minutes, will be at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
(RELATED: Excerpts From Obama's Speech)
The trip coincides with the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and Obama has faced intensifying criticism from Republicans and their allies in the conservative media, who have accused him of "spiking the football." In going to Afghanistan on what is also the ninth anniversary of the most notorious example of premature presidential gloating, Obama risks turning the high point of his presidency into a political weapon for his enemies. But it will be how the president conducts himself while in the war zone that will determine if this trip is lumped in with George W. Bush's donning of a flight suit and appearing on an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner.
(PICTURES: Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Aghanistan)
Obama has a legitimate reason for the trip, his third to Afghanistan as president. The strategic agreement he is signing is an important and needed step on the road to eventual American withdrawal from a war that has dragged on for a decade. And relations with the Afghan government have been sufficiently frayed as to require some face-to-face mending. Additionally, it is never inappropriate for the commander in chief to visit troops under fire to remind them that the nation remembers them and honors their service.