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Published:December 8th, 2013 13:05 EST

Chuck Hagel Arrives in Kabul for Meetings, Troop Visits

By SOP newswire3

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived here today for meetings with U.S. military leaders and Afghan officials, as well as the traditional holiday visits to deployed service members.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meets with Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2013. The leaders discussed issues of mutual importance and concern. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Hagel is scheduled to meet here with Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi and Interior Minister Mohammad Umer Daudzai.

Assistant Pentagon Press Secretary Carl Woog said the secretary will thank troops for their service fighting far away from home, and commend the progress they have made this year in advancing the capabilities of the Afghan national security forces. "

A senior defense official traveling with the secretary told reporters Hagel does not plan to meet during this visit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The bilateral security agreement is still unsigned between the United States and Afghanistan, the official noted.

The United States has made its position on the BSA clear, " the official said. And just two days ago, President Karzai repeated his position to senior U.S. officials that he is not yet ready to sign the BSA and provided no timeline or practical step for doing so. "

The secretary left Bahrain earlier today after delivering a speech on the U.S. force posture in the Middle East. He also is scheduled to visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia before concluding his travels.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia