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Obama Addresses Troops in Afghanistan, Calls Helping Wounded Vets ‘Sacred Obligation’

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, promising an end to combat missions in Afghanistan by the close of the year and help easing veterans back into civilian life following their return to the States.

Obama pledged a commitment to limited troop presence beyond 2014 in Afghanistan, which is undergoing a presidential transition, to safeguard the gains made against al Qaeda by American troops. He then name-checked the just-opened 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero, describing a flag from that day that had survived the attacks to maintain its patriotic symbolism, much as the troops he was addressing had outlasted challenges to America’s security.

He also made oblique reference to the scandal currently embroiling the Department of Veterans Affairs. “We’re going to stay strong by helping our wounded warriors and veterans. Because helping our wounded warriors and veterans heal isn’t just a promise. It’s a sacred obligation.”

Obama closed by promising to shake the hand of every service member there, though he regretted he didn’t have time for selfies.

Watch the clip below, via CNN:

[Image via screengrab]

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