Hagel makes first Afghan trip
09 March, 2013
KABUL: Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday for his first trip abroad as US defense secretary, seeking to make his own assessment about America's longest war as it enters its final stretch.
Hagel said he would meet US commanders and hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose recent orders to curtail US military activity underscore an often tense relationship with the 66,000 American forces there.
"I need to better understand what's going on," Hagel told reporters as he flew to Kabul on the unannounced visit, adding his goal was to "make my own assessment and listen to our commanders".
Hagel said it was his first trip to Afghanistan since a mid-2008 visit with then-Senator Barack Obama during Obama's campaign for the presidency.