Abdullah Contest Afghan Poll Result

_76117225_76117224Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah has claimed victory in last month’s poll, despite results giving a lead to his rival, Ashraf Ghani.

Addressing supporters in Kabul, Mr Abdullah repeated claims that the election process was marred by fraud.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had earlier warned against a power grab, amid reports that Mr Abdullah was planning a “parallel government”.

Meanwhile, a bomb near Kabul has killed 16 people, including four Nato troops.

Ten civilians and two police officers were also reportedly killed in the attack on a clinic near Bagram, home to the largest US base in the country.

Mr Abdullah told the gathering in Kabul that he would never “accept a fraudulent government”.

“We are the winners of this round of elections, without any doubt,” he said, to cheers from the crowd.

However, he stopped short of declaring a parallel government as his supporters had earlier suggested he might. Instead, he called for a unified country.

“We don’t want civil war, we don’t want a crisis,” he said. “We want stability, national unity, not division.” Nato troops at Bagram Nato troops based at Bagram have been fighting Taliban insurgents

Preliminary results announced on Monday gave Mr Ghani 56.44% of votes in the 14 June run-off.

Mr Abdullah, who fell just short of an outright majority in the first round, had 43.56%.

Both men have alleged fraud in the election. Votes are being re-checked at nearly a third of polling stations – more than 7,000.

Correspondents say recounts could significantly alter the final result, due on July 22.

The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan warned it would be “premature” for either side to claim victory.

It called on the presidential candidates to exercise restraint and prevent their supporters from “making any irresponsible statements and from taking steps that could lead to civil disorder and instability”.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Kerry said Afghanistan risked losing security and aid support if anyone tried to “take power by extra-legal means”.

Mr Abdullah said Mr Kerry was expected to travel to Afghanistan on Friday. US officials have not commented on the secretary of state’s travel plans. — BBC

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