March 29th, 2010
02:44 PM ET

Afghan war remains 'absolutely essential,' Obama says

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/28/afghanistan.us/art.karzai.afp.gi.jpg caption="Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who met with Obama on Sunday."]

CNN Wire Staff

President Obama rallied U.S. troops and pledged continued partnership with Afghanistan during a previously unannounced trip to the country Sunday.

Speaking to about 2,000 U.S. and allied troops at the major U.S. base in Afghanistan, Obama said, "Those folks back home are relying on you."

"I know it's not easy," he said. "You're far away from home. You miss your kids, you miss your spouses, your family, your friends." But he added, "If I thought for a minute that America's vital interests were not served, were not at stake here in Afghanistan, I would order all of you home right away."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • President Barack Obama
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