(CNN) – US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday to make a surprise Thanksgiving visit to American soldiers, their first trip to that country.
It is the second visit of the president and first lady to US soldiers abroad in a war zone after a trip to Iraq at the end of last year. This visit comes amid unprecedented tensions between the president and senior military officers after the dismissal of Marine Secretary Richard Spencer.
There are about 12,000 soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan in a conflict unleashed by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which has claimed more than 2,300 American lives and cost billions of dollars in taxpayers.
– Barbara Starr and Nicole Gaouette of CNN contributed to this report.