Rice to visit Afghanistan to encourage progress

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to visit Afghanistan to encourage continued democratic progress amid rising violence that authorities blame on resurgent Taliban militants.

The State Department announced Tuesday that Rice will travel to Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan next week for discussions on economic development, security matters and democracy building. She may also visit other countries, spokesman Sean McCormack said.

A bomb exploded Tuesday near a key crossing point on the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing three people and wounding 20

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