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Friday, 08 August 2014 06:45

Kerry in Afghanistan amid vote dispute

US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit amid an ongoing dispute over the results of the June presidential runoff election.

 

According to Press TV, Kerry met with the country's two presidential candidates, former foreign minister, Abdullah Abdullah, and former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, on Thursday night, urging them to end their feud, accept the election results currently being audited, and form a new government by early September.

The top US diplomat also insisted that both Afghan candidates need to find a solution before the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4.

At that summit, NATO leaders are hoping to make decisions about their nations' role in Afghanistan after the end of the year, when most foreign combat troops will be withdrawn.

On Sunday, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission resumed an audit of votes cast in the country’s presidential runoff vote after a series of walkouts and suspensions.  The recount process is being supervised by UN and EU observers.

Based on preliminary results from the June 14 runoff, Ghani, a former World Bank economist, won the Afghan election with 56.44 percent of the votes, while Abdullah came second with 43.56 percent.

Abdullah rejected the initial results as unacceptable and fraudulent, alleging that he was the victim of “industrial-scale” ballot-box stuffing, with many more votes than the voters registered in some areas.

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