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Annan Arrives in Afghanistan

U.N. Secretary-General Koffi Annan has arrived in Afghanistan for a one-day visit to shore up support for that country's interim government and to stress the need for stability.

Koffi Annan arrived at Kabul airport and was greeted by a contingent of de-mining experts and sniffer dogs. Ridding Afghanistan of deadly landmines is just one of the tasks ahead as the country tries to recover from more than two decades of war and years of repression.

The Secretary-General meets here with U.N. officials, the head of the international security force and he holds talks with interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai. Mr. Annan will stress the need for stability to allow recovery and development work to go ahead.

U.N. spokesman, Ahmed Fawzi says the Secretary-General also wants to show support for the Afghan people and the interim government. "He's coming to the region to express his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan in their time of need, to see for himself the hardships they have suffered. It's a short visit, but he's going to try and do as much as he can during this visit to congratulate the leaders of the interim administration on the job they have been doing under very difficult circumstances over the past month with few resources and to talk to the neighbors of Afghanistan also who play an important role in the overall in the politics and security of this region," Mr. Fawzi said.

Mr. Annan has been talking to Afghanistan's neighbors. He came here from the Pakistani capital Islamabad and heads on to Tehran later in the day.

His visit also comes on the heels of an international donors' conference earlier this week in Tokyo during which the international community pledged more than $4.5 billion to rebuild Afghanistan.