Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defense arrives in Afghanistan


Kabul (afviews): The US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan this evening, his first visit a s secre tary of defense.

In a message to American troops stationed in Afghanistan, Mr. Hagel said that “what you are doing here in Afghanistan will help ensure that Al Qaeda does not re-establish the safe haven they had before September 11, 2001.”

This is Chuck Hagel’s fifth trip to Afghanistan, but first trip as the United States Secretary of Defense.

“I believe that we are at a very important moment in this campaign, with the Afghan National Security Forces on the verge of stepping into the lead for all combat operations across the country. As the 2013 fighting season gets underway, the Afghan forces will be doing more and more of the fighting, and relyi

ng on you for support, training, and advice,” he added.

“The choices you make on the battlefield, the professionalism and honor you carry forward, and the relationships and trust you build with our Afghan partners are all essential to the success of this campaign,” Hagel said in a statement released by ISAF.

“Even as we move into more of a support role, this remains a dangerous and difficult mission. We are still at war, and many of you

will continue to experience the ugly reality of combat and the heat of battle. But the goal we have established – to have Afghans assume full responsibility for security by the end of 2014 – is clear and achievable.

This is a decisive time – and with your continued professionalism, dedication and sacrifice, I believe we can make history and help forge a more peaceful future for the people of Afghanistan, for the region, and – in turn – for the world, the US Secretary of Defense said.



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