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Hagel Rejects Suggestion Of U.S.-Taliban Collusion

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens to the press following his meeting with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. It is Hagel's first official trip since being sworn-in as Obama's Defense Secretary. (Jason Reed/AP, Pool)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel listens to the press following his meeting with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. It is Hagel's first official trip since being sworn-in as Obama's Defense Secretary. (Jason Reed/AP, Pool)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is rejecting any suggestions that the United States is in collusion with the Taliban in Afghanistan with the goal of making Afghans fearful of more violence if foreign troops leave as scheduled next year.

The suggestion came from Afghan President Hamid Karzai before his meeting with Hagel Sunday in Kabul.

Hagel, on his first visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary, said after the meeting that he thinks Karzai understands "where we are and where we've been, and hopefully where we're going together."

A joint news conference by Hagel and Karzai that had been planned Sunday was canceled, because of what officials described as security concerns. A Pentagon spokesman said it had nothing to do with Karzai's accusations about U.S. and Taliban complicity.

Yesterday, a suicide bomber struck outside the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing nine Afghan civilians. Hagel heard the explosion from the safe location where he was meeting with Afghan officials, but was never in danger.

This program aired on March 10, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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