Rumsfeld Headed to Afghanistan for Karzai's Inauguration
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Dec. 6, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived here this evening on the first leg of a trip that will take him to Afghanistan to attend the inauguration of President Hamid Karzai and to India to meet with that country's leaders.
Rumsfeld, who along with Vice President Dick Cheney will represent the United States at Karzai's inauguration, called the event "enormously important to that country and to that part of the world and to the principles that we believe in."
He said the presidential election that took place Oct. 9 and upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for the spring "represent an important step forward for moderates, for the principles of fairness to all elements, and for opportunities for all elements of people within the country."
While in Afghanistan, Rumsfeld also is scheduled to visit with U.S. Special Forces soldiers with the Parwan provincial reconstruction team near Bagram Air Base.
A brief visit to India will follow the trip to Afghanistan. Rumsfeld hasn't been to India since June 2002. He said this trip will provide an opportunity to meet with the country's new leaders, including the minister of defense.
The secretary called India an important country. "As the world's largest democracy, (India is) a nation that we have important and continuing relationships with," he said.