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Recount called for in Afghan presidential election; US threatens to withdraw aid

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Recount called for in Afghan presidential election; US threatens to withdraw aid
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In Afghanistan, presidential hopeful Ashraf Ghani has called for a partial recount of votes following allegations the election was rigged.

Preliminary results announced on Monday put him in the lead with 56.44 percent.

But rival Abdullah Abdullah claimed the vote was marred by fraud.

Speaking from the capital Kabul, Ghani said: “We ask the electoral commissions, and especially the complaints commission, to inspect and recount the votes from 7,100 polling stations. This includes over three million ballots for both candidates across the country.”

Thousands of Abdullah’s supporters gathered in Kabul to demand that he form a parallel government – a move that could see the country fall further into disorder.

Abdullah asked his followers to be patient as he needed a few days to mull over the situation:

“I owe you,” he said. “I assure you all that I’m ready to sacrifice myself, but not to accept a fraudulent government.”

Afghanistan is heavily dependent on international aid, particularly from the US. Washington has warned it will withdraw its support if anyone tries to take power illegally.

Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Afghanistan on Friday.