Washington: US President Barack Obama returned to the US capital early on Saturday after a surprise visit to Afghanistan where he assured US troops they were winning the war against the Taliban.
A plane carrying the president touched down at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington at about 6:25 am (1125 GMT).
The president arrived in Kabul under cover of darkness Friday, with aides announcing nothing of the trip beforehand due to security concerns.
Obama, who has tripled US troop numbers in Afghanistan, spent a mere four hours in the country during his second visit as president, all at the Bagram air base outside Kabul.
A face-to-face visit with President Hamid Karzai was replaced with a 15-minute phone call, and nasty weather scuppered plans to fly Obama by helicopter to the nearby Afghan capital.
The trip came as the Obama administration faced new friction with Karzai over embarrassing assessments of the Afghan leader in leaked diplomatic cables, but war czar Douglas Lute told reporters the topic did not come up between the two leaders.