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Afghan president pays his respects to fallen Marine, wounded sailor who fought in Helmand province

May 15, 2010 |  1:26 pm

KarzaiXX Before, during and immediately after the Marine-led offensive against Taliban fighters in their stronghold of Marja, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's absence and tepid comments were noticeable -- actions that were displeasing to some U.S. troops who did the fighting.

But during his just-finished visit to Washington this week, Karzai paid homage to the U.S. dead and wounded from the battle that began in February.

When he visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Tuesday, one of the patients he met with was a Navy corpsman from the 1st battalion, 2nd Marine regiment -- a fact noted with appreciation by Major Gen. Richard Mills, the top Marine in Afghanistan, during a teleconference Friday with reporters assembled at Camp Pendleton.

The corpsman was injured while tending to wounded Marines, Mills said.

At Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, one of the graves that Karzai visited was that of Lance Cpl. Timothy Poole of Bowling Green, Ky.

Poole, 22, of the 1st battalion, 3rd regiment, was killed by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol outside Marja in January.

The Marine's father, Timothy Poole Sr., indicated to Fox News that he appreciated Karzai's visit but the pain of his son's loss endures.

"You don't want to know what it's like to stand at that Dover Air Force Base [mortuary] waiting for your son to fly home," Poole said. "Watch them offload your son from the plane knowing you'll never see your son again, knowing you'll never hold your son again, you'll never hear your son say 'I love you.'"

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits the graves of U.S. military personnel at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday. Credit: Associated Press

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