Saturday, August 29, 2009

Karzai Further Extends Lead in Partial Vote Count

Hamid Karzai (File photo)

By VOA News
Afghanistan's latest partial presidential election results show that incumbent President Hamid Karzai has further extended his lead, although it is far too early to predict a final outcome.

Elections officials say the latest figures include votes counted at 35 percent of the polling stations used in the August 20 vote.

Authorities say of the votes counted so far, Mr. Karzai leads by 46 percent, compared to his main rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has 31 percent.

President Karzai still does not have enough votes to avoid a run-off in the election, which has been plagued by claims of widespread fraud.

Separately, the U.S. State Department on Saturday denied Afghan media reports that the United States is encouraging the formation of a coalition government in Afghanistan.

The statement said the United States does not support or oppose any candidate, and is only interested in a credible election process.

Meanwhile, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a surprise visit to British troops in southern Afghanistan Saturday. He promised troops more support in their battle against Taliban insurgents, and equipment to protect them from roadside bombs.

In southern Zabul province Saturday, a suicide bomber attacked a NATO patrol in a market, killing two civilians and wounding 21 others.

The local district governor Abdul Qayoum said the troops were on a foot patrol in a market in Shah Joy when the suicide bomber blew himself up next to them.

There are more than 100,000 NATO and U.S.-led coalition forces fighting the Taliban insurgency.


Post a Comment