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Cuomo Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

Cuomo, right, visiting Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany en route to Afghanistan.
Cuomo, right, visiting Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany en route to Afghanistan. Photo Credit: flickr

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo arrived in Afghanistan with a bipartisan delegation of governors on Saturday.

The visit came at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, according to Cuomo's office. Due to security issues, the trip could not be disclosed publicly in advance, Cuomo's office said.

“During a period of heightened security concerns, we are working closely with our federal partners to increase preparedness at home in New York and protect our citizens from the threat of global terrorism," Cuomo said in a statement. "At the same time, we must never forget the continuing courage and sacrifice of the members of our military serving overseas, who have dedicated their lives to defending our country.

“It is a deep honor to deliver a message of support first hand to our men and women in uniform abroad: New York stands behind you.”

During the trip, Cuomo is receiving a series of briefings from senior U.S. Department of Defense officials on counterterrorism issues, the evolving global threats that affect New York’s security at home, and other matters, according to his office.

Cuomo will also meet with New York and other American troops who are currently stationed in Afghanistan – including those from Fort Drum, New York’s 10th Mountain Division – to thank them for their service.

Approximately 270 members of the New York National Guard are currently deployed in Afghanistan – the bulk of which are based in the Hudson Valley and New York City. Additionally, approximately 900 members of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division are stationed in Afghanistan

Gov. Cuomo arrived in Washington, DC from New York late Friday. That evening, he received security briefings from U.S. Department of Defense officials before departing from Andrews Air Force Base and traveling to Ramstein Air Base in Germany en route to Afghanistan, where he arrived Saturday night Afghan time (which is 8.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time).

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