Protesters claim fraud in Afghan poll

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Protesters claim fraud in Afghan poll

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Supporters of Afghanistan’s presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah took to the streets of Kabul on Saturday following allegations of fraud in last week’s election run-off.

Former foreign minister Abdullah has boycotted the vote count, accusing President Karzi, poll rival Ashraf Ghani and electoral authorities of rigging the ballot to deny him victory.

‘‘We are here to peacefully protest and call on President Karzai to resign. This fraud is embarrassing in front of God, the people and the world. Karzai should have taken action to prevent such a crime,’‘ said one protester.

Abdullah’s refusal to recognise the vote threatens to plunge Afghanistan into a protracted political crisis at critical moment of transition.

First results are not due until July but reports suggest Abdullah is behind his rival Ghani, despite victory in the first round.

Elsewhere in the capital, one civilian was killed and several others injured after a suicide bomber targeted a senior government official.

Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai, an advisor to the government body tasked with peace talks with the Taliban, had been travelling in an armoured car and escaped unhurt.