U.S. President George W. Bush paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan Monday morning amid increasing security incidents in the post-Taliban state.
This is Bush's second but the last visit to pay farewell to Afghans and Afghanistan where his troops ousted Taliban fundamentalist regime from power seven years ago but have failed to ensure security there.
Currently more than 70,000-strong international troops, with over 30,000 Americans, have been battling Taliban and allied al- Qaida insurgents in Afghanistan to stabilize security in the war- battered country.
The outgoing U.S. President Bush at a press conference with Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai expressed satisfaction over progress in Afghanistan, adding he sees more development in Kabul than the past.
Bush told newsmen after meeting that Afghanistan is in America's interests and it will not allow the central Asian country to become a safe haven again for al-Qaida which is greatly weakened since 2001. "It is in America's interests that we will forever deny safe havens for people who still want to kill our citizens."
Bush added that "the interest is to build flourishing democracy as an alternative to a hateful ideology, but it is not easy work."
The U.S. President, who earlier toured Iraq, told journalists accompanying him in plane that the United States "would continue to help this young democracy to develop the institutions so it can survive on its own, not to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s," a reference to leaving Afghans alone after the pullout of Soviet troops which led to the emergence of Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
Militants in their latest waves of violent attacks against the troops killed four NATO soldiers on Friday in the southern Helmand province by carrying out suicide attack and roadside bombing.
The U.S. commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General David McKiernan has called for additional 20,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to bolster the war against Taliban and associate militants.
Bush who is going to handover the power to his Democrat successor Barack Obama in January also added that the U.S. would continue to support Afghanistan in the war on terror and strengthening democracy.
However, Afghans have shown mixed reaction to Bush's farewell visit to their country.
"He has done nothing to Afghanistan except deploying his troops to our country. Today we have no electricity and no roads even in the capital city Kabul," a taxi driver Mohammad Amin told Xinhua.
Another common Afghan Rohullah thanked Bush for ousting Taliban regime from power and added Afghans want Washington to pay more attention in reviving the country's economy.
"We are grateful to President Bush for driving out Taliban fanatic regime from power. We want the United States to help us revive our economy and stand on our own feet in all fields including security," the 55-year-old Rohullah maintained.
Taliban insurgents who staged a violent comeback in 2006 carried out bloody suicide attacks, roadside bombing and ambushes against the Afghan and international forces' interests almost everyday.
Spiraling conflicts and Taliban-linked insurgency have claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people with over 277 foreign soldiers so far this year in strife-torn Afghanistan.