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Kerry: Bin Laden's Death Represents 'New Opportunity'


Senator John Kerry speaks to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan in Kabul.

Senator John Kerry speaks to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan in Kabul.

U.S. Senator John Kerry says the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden represents a "new opportunity" for progress in Afghanistan.

"The death of Osama bin Laden is a very significant accomplishment, and obviously it opens up a new opportunity for everybody to rethink what is happening," Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan in Kabul today. "It is particularly an opportunity for people to think about laying down their arms, for the Taliban to recognize that we will not stop our efforts to bring justice for violent acts."

Kerry held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul today. The talks came ahead of Kerry's visit to Pakistan, which represents the first high-level U.S. visit to the country since the killing of bin Laden there on May 2.

Diplomatic sources say Kerry is to meet with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, and other top Pakistani leaders.

The visit comes as ties between the two countries are at a low following the death of bin Laden in a unilateral U.S. operation in the military town of Abbottabad.

Reports say Kerry's trip to Pakistan could pave the way for a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this month.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, with agency reports
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