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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Makes Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

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December 07, 2013 AT 11:52 AM
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting with American forces in Afghanistan amid a stubborn stand-off between the U.S. and Afghan leaders over a security agreement that President Hamid Karzai still refuses to sign despite increasing pressure from diplomatic and defense officials. Hagel's unannounced visit lands him in the center of the chaos, but he has no plans to meet with Karzai and may have little impact on the matter during his stopover. The U.S. has made its position on the security agreement clear and Karzai has tentatively endorsed the deal. Still, he refuses to sign it after it was approved by a council of tribal elders known as the Loya Jirga. The council said the agreement with the U.S. should be signed by the end of December, as U.S. officials have demanded.