US senator Kerry in Afghanistan

AFP , Saturday 14 May 2011

Influential US Senator John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday, the embassy in Kabul said, ahead of a visit to neighbouring Pakistan following the death of Osama bin Laden

U.S. Senator John Kerry, centre left, talks to reporters after he arrived at Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, Saturday May 14, 2011. AP

The White House said it was endorsing the trip by Kerry to Pakistan to shore up badly strained ties over the killing of the Al-Qaeda chief in Abbottabad, just 40 miles (65 kilometres) from Islamabad on May 2.

Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, will be the highest profile US figure to visit Islamabad since elite US troops killed bin Laden.

The covert raid has plunged Pakistani politics into turmoil with both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani facing calls to resign amid growing anti-American sentiment.

The US embassy in Kabul declined to release Kerry's Afghan itinerary for security reasons.

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