Latest from AF1 as President Obama makes his way back to USA from Afghanistan

Subject: Pool #5 – En Route Ramstein

En Route Ramstein

First, POTUS will NOT make a hospital visit at Ramstein. It is a refueling stop only, and was never planned to be a hospital visit.

Next, a senior administration official came back to gaggle and a bit of news to pass on:
POTUS called Hamid Karzai before leaving Bagram. The call lasted 15 to 20 minutes.

The official said POTUS praised Karzai for the progress being made by the Afghan security forces, for the successful first round of the presidential elections, and expressed support for an Afghan-led reconciliation process with the Taliban.

On the security briefing POTUS had at Bagram, the official said he received an optimistic assessment of Afghan security forces progress (but would not say if this meant he would lean toward a lower number of troops beyond the end of the year) and that the first-round election was run successfully.

“Their message was that different pieces of the puzzle are coming together,” the official said.

-On another subject, the official said POTUS is pleased by Ukraine election, the way it was run. The official said that the “sense of stability” that could come with a widely accepted election result would be “very positive.”