Vice President Joe Biden is in Afghanistan, arriving Monday and using the unannounced visit to "assess progress" the Afghans are making toward taking over security responsibilities from U.S. forces later this year.
Biden is making his first visit to Afghanistan as vice president. He traveled to the country, where U.S. troops have been stationed for almost a decade, in January 2009 as vice president-elect, assessing the situation Barack Obama would inherit as president.
According to a pool report, Biden landed on Monday evening -- Kabul is nine hours ahead of East Coast time -- and will meet with Gen. David Petraeus and U. S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry for an "update from them on the situation on the ground."
Biden and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will lunch during the trip and hold other meetings.
Biden's office said in a statement: "The primary purpose of the trip is to assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security beginning this year, and to demonstrate the United States' commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, the Vice President will meet with President Hamid Karzai, visit with U.S. service members and civilian personnel, and tour an Afghan National Army Training Center."