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Afghans Prepare To Count Votes from Presidential Poll - 2004-10-10


Officials in Afghanistan are collecting ballots after an historic presidential election tainted by allegations of fraud.

Ballot boxes from polling stations across the country were being moved to counting centers today (Sunday) so votes could be tallied. (Ballot counting is expected to begin Monday.)

Millions of Afghans turned out to vote Saturday despite threats by supporters of the former Taleban government to disrupt the poll.

The threatened violence failed to materialize. But midway through election day 15 candidates opposed to interim President Hamid Karzai demanded the election be scrapped, claiming massive fraud.

The candidates said some people had voted more than once, polls closed prematurely in opposition areas and voters were pressured to cast their ballots for Mr. Karzai.

Election officials promised to investigate the allegations, but said ballot counting would go ahead.

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