EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Afghanistan on Tuesday for talks with President Hamid Karzai and some of his rivals contesting landmark elections next month, an EU statement said.

Solana and Afghan political leaders will discuss "latest developments in the country and the region as well as the upcoming electoral process," it said.

Solana will meet Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta and the head of the EU election observation mission in Afghanistan, and will reiterate EU support for stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, it added.

A spokesman confirmed Solana has arrived Tuesday following talks in Pakistan, where Islamist militant fighters fled after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Solana''s visit comes with Western troop casualties in Afghanistan at record levels as US and European allies deploy extra troops in a bid to ease a Taliban insurgency, bolster Afghan security forces and secure the August 20 election.

The European Union sent an observation mission this month to Afghanistan to prepare for the presidential and provincial council elections.