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Brad Paisley says his weekend trip to Afghanistan was an experience that'll be "hard to top."  The country star flew on Air Force One with President Obama for a surprise "thank you" visit to Bagram Air Base. 

Brad tells Country Aircheck it wasn't an easy trip to arrange.  He explains that he immediately signed on when he was approached about doing something for the troops, but received very few details and very short notice confirming the trip -- which conflicted with a festival commitment.  Brad says it was awkward not being able to explain to organizers why he could no longer be a headliner, but they agreed when he offered to play earlier in the day -- and "take a huge pay cut." 

Paisley recalls it was a long flight to Afghanistan, and it got "scary" when they were being told what to do if the missile sirens went off.  He says it really drove home the fact that they weren't simply flying to another state but "going to one of the most volatile regions of the world in total secret," and were "the biggest target in the world." But the singer adds that it was to thank the troops, so despite the risk there was "no way" he would pass it up. 

Brad says at the base he played an acoustic set featuring "appropriate" songs that the troops "wanted to hear," like "This Is Country Music," "I'm Gonna Miss Her," and "Alcohol," before the president made his address.  He adds that he "worked the room" afterward, and met as many soldiers as he could during the "three or four hours" they were on the ground.