Clinton in first Afghan visit as top U.S. diplomat

KABUL Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:52am EST

1 of 3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is welcomed by U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry (C) upon her arrival at Kabul airport, November 18, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jerry Lampen

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KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday for her first visit as America's top diplomat, on the eve of President Hamid Karzai's inauguration after a fraud-tainted election.

Clinton's visit comes at a time when President Barack Obama's administration is in the final stages of deciding whether to send tens of thousands of extra troops, and election fraud has battered the veteran leader Karzai's reputation in the West.

A Reuters photographer saw Clinton's plane arrive in Kabul.

(Reporting by Jerry Lampen; Editing by Paul Tait)