Top U.S. And British Diplomats Visit Former Taliban Stronghold

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says her visit to southern Afghanistan is not an effort to show up European countries, which are refusing to send troops to the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

She and her British counterpart, David Miliband, flew there Thursday. Rice says the unannounced visit is just a way to get outside the capital of Kabul and see what’s been going on in “a very active” area.

Kandahar was the Taliban’s stronghold even after the regime was toppled by a U.S.-led assault in 2001. American-led forces pushed the Taliban out of the city in 2006 and 2007. But, the area is still dangerous.

The U.S. wants more NATO troops sent to the area. Rice says the number of troops needed is not “overwhelming.” She says it’s a level NATO “can meet and should meet.”