Pentagon chief visits Afghanistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has landed in Afghanistan on his first overseas trip as the Pentagon chief, the Defense Department announced.

According to the American Forces Press Service, the Pentagon’s information wing, Hagel is to thank U.S. troops deployed in the Asian country and to see for himself “where we are in Afghanistan. ”

Hagel was quoted as saying during the flight to reporters that he’s interested in seeing for himself, and discussing with Afghan and NATO International Security Assistance Force partners, “where the Afghans are in some of their capabilities.”

He added that he has spoken by telephone this week with both Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi and NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who recently also paid a visit to Afghanistan.

The secretary said that he looks forward to meeting with Mohammadi and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his visit, as well as talking with senior U.S. military commanders in the country, including Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford who took over command of the coalition force from John Allen on Feb. 10. NNI

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