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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

World

Abdullah, Ghani teams join Afghan poll audit
Agencies
Kabul, August 05, 2014
First Published: 00:16 IST(5/8/2014)
Last Updated: 00:18 IST(5/8/2014)

Representatives of both presidential candidates in Afghanistan have now joined the internationally supervised audit of ballots from the June runoff, an election official said on Monday.

The process is a key step toward insuring a peaceful transfer of power and determining the successor to Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban.

Election commission spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said observers from the team of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah also joined the audit. on Sunday, when the audit resumed after a holiday break, only representatives from former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai were on hand.

Preliminary results from the June 14 runoff showed Ahmadzai well ahead of Abdullah, but both sides alleged fraud.

The audit of the more than 8 million votes is likely to take weeks. In other developments, at least two Pakistani soldiers and seven Ubzek terrorists were killed on Monday in the ongoing military offensive against local and foreign militants in the restive North Waziristan tribal region.

Two soldiers died while seven Ubzek terrorists were killed, military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said.

The operation Zarb-e-Azb continues to achieve its objectives and is progressing well, he said.

Pakistan launched a full-scale military operation against the local and foreign militants on June 15 in the lawless tribal region once considered as the stronghold of al Qaeda linked rebels. The towns of Miranshah, Mirali, Boya, Degan and area up to Dattakhel have been cleared so far.


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