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Kerry makes stop in Afghanistan over election crisis

By Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 10:30 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
John Kerry appears with Afghan presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani, center, and Abdullah Abdullah last month in Kabul.
John Kerry appears with Afghan presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani, center, and Abdullah Abdullah last month in Kabul.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Visit comes a day after a U.S. major-general was killed in an insider attack
  • Kerry is following up on his July trip to Afghanistan
  • The secretary is to meet with both candidates and President Hamid Karzai

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Thursday in Afghanistan to speed up a resolution to the country's election dispute, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Kerry will be meeting with presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani and President Hamid Karzai. The visit comes two days after Maj. Gen. Harold Greene -- a longtime officer who was leading efforts to train soldiers in Afghanistan -- was killed at a military training facility in Kabul.

Afghan preliminary vote count in dispute
Abdullah: Half of ballots 'suspicious'

Kerry recently brokered an agreement between the nation's two presidential candidates to accept the outcome of an audit of the election. Preliminary results from the June runoff showed Ghani in the lead, but Abdullah alleged massive election fraud.

The inauguration of the President, originally scheduled for the first week of August, was postponed while the votes are recounted.

"The secretary will follow up on his July visit to Kabul and his subsequent phone calls to the candidates, encouraging both to help accelerate the audit process which they are both participating in, and make progress on the details of the political framework that they agreed to during the Secretary's last visit," Psaki said in a statement.

"The Secretary will encourage both candidates to work together in the spirit of collegiality and statesmanship, to ensure national unity and the means to build on the progress the Afghan people have achieved."

Also: Why do some Afghan forces turn and kill allies?

Also: Profiles of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah

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