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Pentagon chief makes 1st trip to Afghanistan

Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

KABUL, Afghanistan – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday for his first visit as Pentagon chief, saying that there are plenty of challenges ahead as NATO hands over the country’s security to the Afghans.

“We are still at war,” Hagel said, warning the U.S. and its allies to remain focused on the mission while noting that the U.S. never intended to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.

“That transition has to be done right, it has to be done in partnership with the Afghans, with our allies,” said Hagel, who took over the Pentagon job a little more than a week ago.

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