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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will travel to Afghanistan and surrounding Central Asian countries this week to consult with government officials and visit U.S. troops.

In brief remarks to reporters, Rumsfeld said details of his travel schedule had not been worked out.

``I look forward to it,'' he said.

A Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said Rumsfeld would make the trip this week, but he would not be more specific.

Rumsfeld last visited Afghanistan in December 2001.

There are nearly 7,000 American troops operating in Afghanistan, including contingents at Kandahar in the south and Bagram in the east.