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The Boston Globe


Hagel makes first visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary

KABUL — In his first overseas trip as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel landed Friday in Afghanistan, a country fast fading from political debate and public interest at home, but where 66,000 US troops continue to experience what he described as ‘‘the ugly reality of combat and the heat of battle.’’

“We are still at war,’’ said ­Hagel, who earned two Purple Hearts while serving as a combat infantryman in Vietnam.

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