Afghan President Hamid Karzai traveled to Fort Campbell today to speak directly with soldiers and thank them for their work in his country. Some were literally leaving for war today.
Karzai addressed more than 1,200 soldiers and their spouses. He also took the time to shake hands with many of them. Reporters were not allowed to cover the event, but according to the Army, Karzai said the story of Afghanistan has been one of “extreme achievements” since the fall of the Taliban nearly 10 years ago.
The entire 101st Airborne Division – some 20,000 soldiers – is deploying to Afghanistan this year. Half of them have already gone.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Hart says having a visit from the Afghan President makes the sacrifices of going to war easier. He told Army public affairs “it’s just nice to know that what we’re doing is going to mean something.”
Fort Campbell was Karzai’s last stop on a weeklong visit that included talks with President Barack Obama focused on repairing relations between Afghanistan and the U.S.
Karzai was joined at Fort Campbell by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of forces in Afghanistan.