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Kerry arrives in Afghanistan to meet presidential candidates, urge calm for smooth transition

Secretary of State John Kerry is making a quick stop in Afghanistan to help resolve an election crisis sowing chaos in a country that the U.S. has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost more than 2,000 lives trying to stabilize.

The visit comes as Afghanistan shows worrying signs of unravelling in its first democratic transfer of power from President Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye), who followed a decade of Taliban governance.

Kerry will meet Friday with the two candidates claiming victory in last month's presidential election runoff.

With Iraq wracked by insurgency, Afghanistan's power dispute over the election results is posing a new challenge to President Barack Obama's 5 1/2-year effort to leave behind two secure nations while ending America's long wars in the Muslim world.