Vice President Biden landed Thursday morning in Iraq — the latest stop this week in his tour of nations deemed critical to U.S. foreign policy.

Biden landed in Baghdad just after midnight local time in a surprise stop on a trip that began  Monday in Afghanistan and continued Wednesday in Pakistan.

The vice president will meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and other political leaders to discuss the long-delayed formation of a new Iraqi government in December and the status of U.S. troops stationed in the country.

The trip is Biden's seventh to Iraq since becoming vice president and comes after the U.S. formally ended its combat mission in the country last August, with eyes toward withdrawing all troops by the end of this calendar year.

Biden's foreign policy junket has ostensibly sought to tour the two active warfronts the Obama administration inherited from President George W. Bush's administration. President Obama has sought to draw those theaters to a close but has been met with political, diplomatic and military setbacks.

A military C-17 plane carried the vice president to Iraq instead of the traditional blue-and-white jet known as "Air Force Two" when the vice president is onboard.