Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is heading to Afghanistan on Saturday on a mission that will take her to a major international conference in Kabul focusing on the problems and the future of the war-torn nation.
The visit is part of a voyage through Asia that includes stops in South Korea and Vietnam. But it will begin with the Kabul conference on Tuesday, a gathering that will deal with economic development, governance, security and reconciliation across Afghanistan.
The Afghan government and the United Nations will be chairing the conference. Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, foreign ministers and top officials from more 70 countries and organizations will be attending the meeting, described as the first conference of its kind in Afghanistan.
It is the latest step in what Western and Afghan officials call the Kabul process - the transition to more Afghan responsibility for running the nation. Earlier this year, two other high-profile meetings dealt with the issue - an international conference in London, England, last January and a "peace jirga," a meeting of tribal and religious leaders in June.