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Rice Pledges Continued U.S. Support for Afghanistan


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says Washington will support Afghanistan as it prepares for parliamentary elections later this year.

Ms. Rice spoke in Kabul after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who announced that the elections scheduled for May will instead be held in September.

At a joint news conference, Mr. Karzai said technical problems were the cause for the delay. Ms. Rice pledged U.S. support for the next stage in Afghanistan's "democratic development."

She added that America had learned the hard way not to abandon Afghanistan, the way it did following the Soviet withdrawal from that country in 1989.

Ms. Rice arrived in Kabul today from Pakistan, as part of her six-nation Asian tour. Shortly after her arrival, a roadside bomb blast in the southern city of Kandahar killed five people and wounded more than 30 others.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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