Tags: hagel | surprise | trip | afghanistan

Pentagon Chief Hagel Makes 1st Trip to Afghanistan

Image: Pentagon Chief Hagel Makes 1st Trip to Afghanistan U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (2nd L) walks with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (2nd R) and General Joseph Dunford, Commander of the International Security Force, after arriving March 8, 2013 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hagel is making his first official trip since being sworn-in as U.S. Defense Secretary. (Photo by Jason Reed-Pool/Getty Images)

Friday, 08 Mar 2013 11:11 AM

 

Chuck Hagel has arrived in Afghanistan in his first trip to the country as defense secretary.

Hagel landed in Kabul on Friday and he plans to meet with President Hamid Karzai and U.S. commanders. He told reporters en route to Afghanistan that there are numerous challenges ahead as NATO prepares to hand over the country's security to the Afghans.

He said that although the transition is under way, the U.S. and allies must remain focused on the mission because "we are still at war."

Hagel made four trips to Afghanistan during his two terms as Nebraska senator. This is his first as Pentagon chief. He was confirmed by the Senate last week after a bruising confirmation fight.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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