Rice Stresses Progress, Taliban in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting Afghanistan with her British counterpart, said Thursday that she sees progress in the troubled nation despite the Taliban militia's threat to security.

Rice, who was accompanied by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said the Afghan government must do its part to fight a resurgent Taliban as the United States and Britain lead an effort to boost the number of NATO combat forces.

"The Afghan government has responsibilities, too," Rice told reporters ahead of a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "This is a two-way street, and I think everybody has to step back and concern ourselves with the Taliban."

Rice and Miliband made clear to reporters that they expected more cooperation from the government of Karzai, who has publicly derided British efforts in war-torn southern Afghanistan in recent months.

The two diplomats got a firsthand look at the front lines of the NATO-led fight against insurgents in Kandahar, visiting an alliance airfield in the former Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Rice said her brief unannounced visit was not an attempt to show up European nations that have refused to send combat forces to Kandahar and other southern regions.

Kandahar was the Taliban's main redoubt even after the regime was toppled by a U.S.-led assault in 2001. U.S. led forces pushed the Taliban forces out of the city in 2006 and 2007, but the area is still considered dangerous.

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