Sen. Clinton Meets Afghanistan's Karzai, Visits U.S. Troops

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ate with U.S. soldiers from New York and Indiana at the main U.S. base in Afghanistan on Sunday before meeting with the top U.S. general in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai, officials said.

Clinton, a Democrat from New York who is considering running for president, traveled here with U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, and Rep. John McHugh, a Republican from upstate New York. All three are members of armed services committees.

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On Friday, Clinton said she is hearing "increasingly troubling reports out of Afghanistan" and would be searching for "accurate information about the true state of affairs" militarily and politically on her trip.

The Taliban last year launched a record number of attacks, and some 4,000 people died in insurgency-related violence, Afghanistan's bloodiest year since the Taliban was ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in late 2001.

Some 23,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan, about half under the NATO flag and half under control of the U.S.-led coalition. Clinton has said she wants to see more troops in Afghanistan, without saying how many.

Her meetings with U.S. military officials and Karzai were closed, and the senator did not make any statements to the media.

The delegation's trip to Kabul comes a day after a visit to Iraq, where Clinton expressed doubt that Iraq's government would follow through with its promises to secure Baghdad as she met with top Iraqi officials and American commanders there.

South of Kabul, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a convoy of foreign construction workers and Afghan soldiers, wounding one civilian, said Mohammmad Asif, a police official.

Qalat is about 220 miles south of Kabul, and Clinton and her colleagues were far from any danger.