French President Francoise Hollande has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan – his first ever. It's another stop on what's been a relentless TO DO list of foreign trips and meetings since his inauguration last week.
As Hollande inspected the guards of honour outside the palace with President Hamid Karzhai by his side, you can't help but wondering if his mind is elsewhere: his visit today to make good on one of his first promises - pulling 3,400 French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year - a full two years ahead of the proposed NATO schedule.
This show of friendship for the media certainly belied how tricky their forthcoming meeting might be. Hollande's here, with his Foreign Minister and Defence Minister for back up, to clarify a few things: France has been asked to put another £127m a year into a pot intended to help Afghanistan maintain some long-term stability with its forces. But Hollande won't be hand that over til he gets assurances on how it will be spent.
It's not all NON though – because he has pledged to stick to the long-term co-operation treaty that was signed in Kabul earlier this year. Later on today, he's off to meet some of the troops he'll be sending home.