Policy & Strategy

Hagel travels to Afghanistan to tout ‘clear and achievable’ US military goals

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel traveled to Afghanistan on Friday
in his first foreign trip as Pentagon chief, telling troops that U.S. goals there are “clear and achievable.”

{mosads}Hagel arrived in the country Friday evening, according to a
statement from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

In a message to troops in Afghanistan, Hagel said
the war remains “a dangerous and difficult mission” even as U.S. forces move into
more of a support role.

“We are still at war, and many of you will continue to
experience the ugly reality of combat and the heat of battle,” he said. “But
the goal we have established — to have Afghans assume full responsibility for
security by the end of 2014 — is clear and achievable.”

{mosads}As the new Defense secretary, Hagel will be responsible for overseeing the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan ahead of 2014, when NATO
plans to hand off security control to Afghan forces.

Obama said in January that 34,000 of the 66,000 U.S. troops in
Afghanistan will be out of the country by next year.

Hagel will also be part of the decision about how large of a
post-2014 presence of U.S. and NATO troops will remain in Afghanistan.

Gen. James Mattis, the outgoing chief of U.S. Central Command,
said he
a post-war force of 13,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but the
actual number may be half that. NATO planners said this week that they may have
final troop
in June.

Hagel had traveled to Afghanistan four times as a Nebraska senator,
but this trip is his first as Defense secretary.

Tags Chuck Hagel

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video