POLITICS: PennAve

Susan Rice travels to Afghanistan to visit with troops, officials

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Politics,White House,Afghanistan,National Security,Susan Rice,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Hamid Karzai

National Security Adviser Susan Rice is in Afghanistan to meet with government officials and visit with U.S. troops to celebrate Thanksgiving, the White House said Monday.

The visit will include meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, according to the Associated Press.

The trip, which the White House said was “long planned,” comes after Karzai shook up talks on finalizing a security agreement between Washington and Kabul that would set U.S. and allied troop levels after the 2014 drawdown. The U.S. wanted the deal done by the end of the year so the Pentagon and State Department could make plans about what future assistance to provide.

Karzai, in a surprise move Thursday, lashed out at the United States, saying he deeply distrusted Washington and would wait and allow a successor to sign the agreement. On Sunday he rejected a recommendation by an Afghan assembly to quickly sign the security pact with the U.S.

Rice arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday and is set to remain there until Tuesday. The White House said she will be “visiting troops and civilians around the holidays while assessing the situation on the ground.”

“She will hear directly from U.S. troops, diplomats, and development professionals about our efforts as we move toward the responsible conclusion of our combat mission at the end of 2013 and as we continue to strengthen Afghanistan to ensure it can provide security, governance, and opportunity for its people,” Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement.

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