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Defence minister’s US visit delayed

Defence minister’s US visit delayed

Feb 27, 2012 - 14:10

WASHINGTON/KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Afghanistaninfo-icon’s defence and interior ministers have cancelled their trip to the United States, the Pentagon said Sunday.  The visit was planned later this week.

Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi were scheduled to meet Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on March 1, a Department of Defence official said.

"Senior Afghan officials, including the defence and interior ministers, are consulting this week with others in the Afghan government and religious leaders on how to protect ISAFinfo-icon personnel and quell violence in the country,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

“The (defence) secretary understands why that's a priority and why they are unable to travel to Washington in the coming days. He looks forward to hosting them at the Pentagon in the near future," Little added.

In Kabul, Ministry of Defence spokesman Maj. Gen. Zahir Azimi said the trip had been postponed, not cancelled. New dates are to be firmed up later on.

On Saturday, two US military officers were found dead inside the high-security Ministry of Interior building. The deaths prompted the withdrawal of ISAF staff from Afghan ministries within hours of the incident.

The US Army officers were reportedly hit in their necks inside their office at the ministry. The attacker, identified as Abdul Saboor, is said to be a worker of the ministry's intelligence department.



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