News / Asia

High Security, Tensions Mar Hagel's Afghan Visit

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Afghanistan's Defense Minister Bismallah Khan Mohammadi, second right, at the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul, March 10, 2013.U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Afghanistan's Defense Minister Bismallah Khan Mohammadi, second right, at the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul, March 10, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Afghanistan's Defense Minister Bismallah Khan Mohammadi, second right, at the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul, March 10, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, meets with Afghanistan's Defense Minister Bismallah Khan Mohammadi, second right, at the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul, March 10, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first visit to Afghanistan was marred by a contentious speech by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as well as a series of security threats that forced the cancellation of a scheduled news conference.

Authorities did not elaborate on the security issues, but a day earlier two suicide bombings - one in Kabul and the other in Khost - killed 19 people.  The bombing in Kabul targeted the Afghan Defense Ministry as Hagel was visiting the capital.

In a speech early Sunday, President Karzai accused the Taliban of being "at the service of America" by using attacks like the ones on Saturday to frighten Afghans into wanting foreign forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline.

In comments to reporters travelling with him, Hagel said he spoke "clearly and directly" to Mr. Karzai, saying it was not true that the United States was working unilaterally with the Taliban.  He said that any prospect for peace or political settlements "has to be led by the Afghans."
 
The top U.S. general in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, also rebuked the president's comments by saying, "we have fought too hard over the past 12 years... shed too much blood... to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage."

The Karzai government also alleged that U.S.-led forces working alongside Afghans were abusing and arresting university students.

Hagel comes to Afghanistan as it struggles with the United States over control of detention facilities and the pace for foreign troop withdrawal.  A ceremony to transfer U.S. control of a main detention facility to Afghanistan Saturday also was cancelled as a deal struck between the two governments broke down.

Last month, Hagel's predecessor, Leon Panetta, said that NATO allies were considering leaving between 8,000 and 12,000 international troops in Afghanistan after 2014.  Currently, there are about 100,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid