- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Afghanistan late Wednesday on an unannounced visit aimed at encouraging the country’s wary leadership to keep up Taliban reconciliation efforts as the Obama administration presses ahead with troop withdrawal plans.

Mrs. Clinton will see President Hamid Karzai and other top Afghan officials on Thursday. Her trip comes as Mr. Karzai has expressed frustration with attempts to woo Taliban fighters away from the insurgency amid increasing attacks by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. The U.S. sees a political settlement with the Taliban as key to ending the war.

Mrs. Clinton also will press the Afghans to reach a security agreement that will govern U.S.-Afghanistan relations after American troops withdraw. The U.S. plans to bring most forces home by 2015.