Obama makes late-night trip to honor slain soldiers

Obama makes late-night trip to honor slain soldiers

President Barack Obama flew to a U.S. military base on Wednesday night to meet the plane bringing home the bodies of 18 American soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in Afghanistan this week, Reuters reported.

The previously unannounced late-night trip comes as Obama weighs whether to send more troops to Afghanistan to fight an insurgency that has reached its fiercest level in eight years. This month has been the deadliest for U.S. forces since the start of the war eight years ago.

Obama took off from the south lawn of the White House in his Marine One presidential helicopter shortly before midnight (0400 GMT on Thursday) and was headed to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, home of the United States' largest military mortuary and main point of entry for U.S. service members killed abroad.

It will be the first time as president he has made the trip to Dover, where as the caskets are unloaded from the transport plane, he will see first hand the human cost of the unpopular war he inherited from his predecessor, George W. Bush, and which analysts say will likely help define his presidency.

Obama traveled with only a small media pool to Dover, and journalists accompanying him were restricted from reporting on the trip until his helicopter had taken off from the White House.

Polls show Americans increasingly weary of the war and there is skepticism, including among Obama's fellow Democrats who control the U.S. Congress, over sending more troops.

The bodies due to arrive in Dover early on Thursday were those of eight Army soldiers killed by a roadside bomb and seven soldiers and three DEA agents killed in a helicopter crash, the military said.

Obama has held a series of meetings with his war Cabinet to review the new Afghan strategy he put in place in March and to consider a request by his top military commander in the field, General Stanley McChrystal, for 40,000 more troops to combat a resurgent Taliban.

He is set to meet again on Friday with Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the heads of the military services, the White House said.

Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said on Tuesday the decision-making process was "probably getting to the end" and a final decision could be expected in the coming weeks.

Critics, particularly among opposition Republicans, accuse Obama of being overly cautious and indecisive, but the White House has said a decision of such magnitude requires careful consideration.

The process has been complicated by an Afghan presidential election in August marred by widespread fraud in favor of incumbent president Hamid Karzai. A second round is due to be held on Nov. 7.

Underlining the fragility of the security situation even in the capital, Kabul, Taliban militants stormed a guest-house in Kabul on Wednesday and killed five U.N. foreign staff.

About two-thirds of the 100,000 NATO-led forces are U.S. troops. More than 900 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon relaxed its ban on media coverage of returning U.S. war dead by allowing families to decide whether to allow photos and television footage of the flag-draped coffins of their loved ones.

The ban had been imposed since the days of the 1991 Gulf War with some exceptions, including the return of Navy seamen killed during the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.

Bush imposed a stricter ban during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, sparking criticism the federal government was hiding the human cost of its military operations.

U.S. COVID-19 vaccines effective against variant in India: expert
U.S. COVID-19 vaccines effective against variant in India: expert
Royal Caribbean cancels all Israel cruises
Royal Caribbean cancels all Israel cruises
Monday.com files for Nasdaq IPO
Monday.com files for Nasdaq IPO
Loading Bars
U.S. COVID-19 vaccines effective against variant in India: expert
Argentina to extend COVID-19 curfew beyond May 21
Finland's parliament green-lights EU recovery fund
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 515,000 in past day — WHO
Azerbaijani contestant Samira Efendi proceeds into Eurovision final (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Sudan bans travellers from India, imposes other COVID-19 restrictions
World's most expensive wine producer to start producing wine in Georgia
4 variants of COVID-19 found in Nepal
Algeria cancels plan to reopen land borders
Value of Turkish cars imported by China surges
France holds summit to help boost financing for Africa's recovery
Turkey to receive 90 mln doses of Pfizer vaccine
Sinovac to be available to individuals over 18 starting next week in Georgia
Iran’s non-oil export hits 46% growth in current year: IRICA
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan finalizing negotiations on launching Silk Road Visa
Israel delivers 120 strikes at targets in Gaza Strip over past day
World Bank helping Georgia to develop SMEs
UK records another 2,412 coronavirus cases, 7 deaths
Retail turnover of computers, equipment in Azerbaijan grows since early 2021
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places medium-term bonds on auction
Azerbaijani FM, Turkic Council Sec-Gen hold phone talks
Azerbaijani Agriculture Ministry to allocate funds for power supply of scientific research institute
Azerbaijani defense minister meets with delegation from Belarus (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Center under Azerbaijani Finance Ministry to allocate funds for maintenance
Azerbaijan discloses timeframe for putting 'Zarifa Aliyeva' vessel into operation
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on May 19
Volume of ready-made clothes exported from Turkey to Austria up
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Antalya port
Volume of cargo from South Korea transshipped through Turkish ports disclosed
Trading Economics reveals Georgia's inflation rate
Ministry discloses volume of cargo from Netherlands transshipped through Turkish ports
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Samsun port
Volume of cement imported by US from Turkey disclosed
Uzbekistan, Russia's Kazan consider launching direct flights
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Tekirdag port
Belarus, Azerbaijan demonstrating high level of interaction, cooperation today - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan traditionally been our friend and ally - Belarus defense minister
Export of Kazakh agro-industrial products notably grows in 2020
Kazakhstan reports multifold growth in container traffic
Turkey sees increase in exports of locally-made electrical goods to US
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Zonguldak port
Number of client accounts in Azerbaijani banks increases
Azerbaijan to increase Virginia tobacco production
Turkey’s export of clothes to Uzbekistan up
Uzbek republican stock exchange reveals number of transactions for April 2021
New export opportunities to appear for locally produced beer – Azerbaijani minister
Georgia to establish snail meat plant, backed by Italian investment
Quarterly data on cargo shipment via Turkish Cesme port revealed
Royal Caribbean cancels all Israel cruises
Kazakhstan boosts petroleum oil exports to France
Equinor closely working with Kazakh KazMunayGas on geophysical studies
Russia's Ministry of Industry, Trade reveals data on joint projects with Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan, Netherlands consider establishing co-op in livestock breeding
Azerbaijan's ASCO opens tender for purchase of steel pipes
AZINNEX talks about Azerbaijan's potential to multiply technology exports by 2030
Russia closely following situation over Armenian-Azerbaijani border incident - MFA
Kazakhstan decreases raw sulfur production volumes
Uzbekistan notes increase in car sales
Georgia increases imports of electricity from Azerbaijan
Turkey announces substantial growth in cement exports to Uzbekistan
Iran to issue loans for dev't of beekeeping sector
Azerbaijan unveils number of citizens vaccinated on May 18
Turkey publishes quarterly data on cargo shipment via local ports from Spain
Azerbaijan confirms 432 more COVID-19 cases, 1,024 recoveries
Azerbaijan suspends import of poultry products from some countries due to bird flu
High revenues from State Oil Fund keep Azerbaijan's state budget surplus - WB
Indian DRDO’s 1st batch of anti-Covid drug 2DG launched
Kazakhstan’s Nostrum unveils oil extraction volumes for 1Q2021
Iran's private sector to start importing COVID-19 vaccine
Iran discloses volume of sprat caught from Caspian Sea
Restoring landscapes to reduce poverty gap in Georgia - WB
Georgian Credo Bank attracts funds from EFSE, GGF to support rural micro and small entrepreneurs
EBRD ready to expand co-op with Turkmenistan
Iran's NISOC to implement projects to collect flare gas
Azerbaijanis hold protest rally in front of UN Campus in Germany (PHOTO)
Revenues of Kazakhstan's Nostrum Oil & Gas down
Georgia sees increase in unemployment rate
Finnish Nokia interested in introduction of 5G technologies Uzbekistan
Turkey notes decline in export of grain, legumes to Turkmenistan
Lending to Azerbaijan's energy, chemistry & natural resources sector up
Value of Turkish chemicals export to Germany rises in 4M2021
Uzbekistan receives third batch of Chinese-Uzbek COVID-19 vaccine
Overview of Turkmen tourism sector's development
Iran’s GTC begins wheat purchasing in Razavi Khorasan Province
Lending to trade & services sector grows in Azerbaijan year-on-year
Iranian parliament issues statement on nuclear discussions
Azerbaijan competing with global leaders in export of high-tech products - AZINNEX
President Ilham Aliyev receives Belarus defense minister
Armenia's vandalism against Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage - flagrant violation of int’l law
Kazakh uranium extracting company opens tender to buy pipes
WB talks stabilization of consumer price index in Azerbaijan
Iran's capital market to increase support of refinery industry - Securities and Exchange Organization
Azerbaijan Railways announces increase in freight traffic
SME Development Centers holding free trainings for entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan
Vladimir Putin: Both parties to Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to end violence
Azerbaijan shares data on 4M2021 oil exports to Israel
Iranian contractors awaiting to build railway in Iraq's Basra
Ministry discloses volume of cargo transshipped through Turkish Gemlik port
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for May 18
All news