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New Pentagon Chief Hagel Visiting Afghanistan


U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (right) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (center) and General Joseph Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force upon Hagel's arrival in Kabul on March 8.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (right) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (center) and General Joseph Dunford, commander of the International Security Assistance Force upon Hagel's arrival in Kabul on March 8.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has arrived in Afghanistan on an unnanounced visit.

Hagel, who is on his first trip to the country as Pentagon chief, said there are plenty of challenges ahead as NATO prepares to hand over the country's security to the Afghans.

"We are still at war," he said, warning the U.S. and its allies to remain focused on the mission.

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Hagel told reporters traveling with him that he will talk with President Hamid Karzai about the recent decree expelling U.S. Special Forces from Wardak Province.

Hagel did not say what his message to Karzai would be.

Karzai ordered that U.S. commandos to leave within two weeks because of allegations that Afghans working with them were involved in abuse and torture.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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