Hagel arrives in Kabul on surprise visit
KABUL (Pajhwok): US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived on an unannounced trip in Kabul on Saturday. The Pentagon also tweeted Hegel had reached Kabul.
Sources said the secretary was accorded a warm welcome by UN officials and NATO Commander Gen. John Campbell at the Kabul International Airport.
It could not be ascertained immediately whom Hegel would meet but one source said the secretary would hold wide-ranging meetings with Afghan and NATO officials.
Hegel, who has tendered resignation from his position, is said to be on his farewell trip to Kabul. US President Barack Obama has already appointed a new defence secretary.
The surprise visit comes hard on the heels of the London Conference, where major donors assured the Ghani administration of sustained assistance.
Afghanistan had made significant progress over the past decade and that a newly-elected government and its army were ready to take charge of security, the secretary told journalist accompanying him.
He said the Afghans had the ability to decide their own fate, their own way, on their terms, linking the improvement to "blood and treasure" spent by American, its allies and Afghan troops.
Hagel will meet President Ashraf Ghani and senior US military commanders and troops. The new NATO mission to train and assist Afghan security forces will begin on January 1, 2015.
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