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Hagel arrives in Afghanistan

By By Joe Sterling CNN
Published On: Mar 11 2013 03:14:09 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 08 2013 10:38:46 AM CST
Chuck Hagel

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(CNN) -

Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday night in his first visit as secretary of defense, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

Hagel, in a message to ISAF personnel, praised the troops "working under stressful and difficult conditions." He promised his "full support" in helping them succeed and come home safely as Afghans transition into the lead for combat operations.

"We are at a very important moment in this campaign," he said in the message. "Even as we move into more of a support role, this remains a dangerous and difficult mission. We are still at war, and many of you will continue to experience the ugly reality of combat and the heat of battle. But the goal we have established -- to have Afghans assume full responsibility for security by the end of 2014 -- is clear and achievable."