Obama honors return of fallen troops from Afghanistan

President Barack Obama flew to a Delaware air force base on Tuesday to honor the return of the remains of 30 U.S. troops killed when Taliban insurgents shot down their helicopter in Afghanistan.

Obama, after vowing he would be undeterred in his war strategy, led a delegation of U.S. officials paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the single deadliest incident for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The visit appeared intended to show war-weary Americans that the president recognizes the human cost in Afghanistan. He unveiled a troop drawdown plan in June to start winding down U.S. involvement in the unpopular, nearly decade-old conflict.

Obama’s last visit to Dover Air Force Base, where the bodies of U.S. service members killed overseas come home, was in 2009 when he witnessed the poignant return of 15 soldiers and three federal agents killed in Afghanistan.

But this time, the Pentagon said the news media would not be allowed to cover the arrival ceremony. The troops’ remains have yet to be identified — due to the catastrophic nature of the weekend helicopter crash — and therefore families would be unable to give their consent, officials said.

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Delaware (Reuters) – (Reporting by Jeff Mason, writing by Matt Spetalnick, editing by Laura MacInnis)


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