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Rumsfeld Bound for Afghanistan

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2002 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is slated to depart tomorrow on a trip to visit U.S. forces in Afghanistan and coalition partners in the region.

"We currently have some 6,000-plus troops in Afghanistan, and for seven months they've done some extraordinary work," said Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke. "The dedication and commitment of the troops is phenomenal. It is very hard work under very difficult conditions."

The secretary is looking forward to seeing the troops, she said. "He really wants to go and thank them and meet with some of the commanders to get an update straight from the horse's mouth."

The secretary also wants to thank coalition partners whose strength and willingness to participate have contributed much to the operation's success thus far, Clarke said. "Circumstances change, conditions change, and he wants to constantly be managing those relationships."

Trip details are still being set, she noted, and further announcements will be made as the trip proceeds. Rumsfeld is scheduled to return to Washington April 29.

Clarke said Rumsfeld is also slated to go to Houston today to meet with Vice President Dick Cheney and to participate in the preparations for the visit of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.


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