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Hagel, German Minister Talk Afghan Transition

Chuck Hagel, the Defense Secretary nominee

WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met his German counterpart Thomas de Maizière on Tuesday to discuss the security transition process in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman said. “The two leaders discussed Germany’s essential support to allied operations in Afghanistan,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

Little added the secretary praised Germany’s leadership within the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), particularly its leadership of Regional Command – North. “Hagel applauded Germany’s recent announcement to continue security support to Afghanistan post-2014 and discussed US considerations for an enduring presence,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the State Department said the US was working on reducing corruption in Afghanistan. “What I can say in terms of our efforts to reduce corruption and to increase transparency — you know that’s been a focus of this department and something we’ve worked very hard on… “And this goes back to the mutual accountability framework to which the international community and the Afghan Government agreed at Tokyo,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

The US expects the government of Afghanistan would follow through on the commitments, he said. “We continue to work with our international partners and we remain committed to supporting Afghanistan’s anti-corruption efforts.  “And this is sort of, broadly speaking, about increasing transparency and accountability, building judicial capacity and rule of law.  We’ve been clear that there’s more work to be done, and we’ll continue to help Afghan authorities in that regard,” Ventrell said. (PAN)

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