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Rice Arrives In Kabul, Then On To Pakistan

Secretary Condoleezza Rice (file photo) 12 October 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today praised Afghanistan's moves toward democracy, and expressed U.S. support for the country's continued fight against hard-line insurgents.

Rice, who arrived in Kabul today, said Afghans are "opening a new page in their history" after decades of civil war and harsh Taliban rule.

Rice is due to hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before leaving in the early afternoon for an unscheduled trip to Pakistan, still reeling from a massive earthquake on 8 October.

Ahead of Rice's arrival from neighboring Kyrgyzstan, two rockets exploded this morning in Kabul. One guard was reported injured when a rocket exploded outside the Canadian Embassy, while some building damage was reported in a rocket strike on a compound housing an Afghan government intelligence office.

Rice told reporters that she plans to fly later today to Pakistan to express U.S. and international support for the country as it pushes forward with recovery efforts following a devastating earthquake on 8 October.

Rice opened her Central Asia tour yesterday in Kyrgyzstan, where she won the agreement of Kyrgyz leaders for the United States to continue using the Manas air base for antiterrorism and stabilization operations in Afghanistan.


See also:

Kyrygzstan: U.S. Secretary Of State Rice Talks To RFE/RL

Secretary Of State Rice Prepares To Visit Central Asia, Afghanistan

For RFE/RL's full coverage of the 18 September legislative elections in Afghanistan, see "Afghanistan Votes"