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Afghan Election Postponed Until September

Hamid Karzai Kabul, 28 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai says presidential elections, originally set for June, have been delayed until September.

The decision to postpone the vote came after the United Nations said elections could not be held in June as outlined in an international agreement.

Karzai told reporters the delay will allow presidential and parliamentary elections to be held at the same time. It will be the
country's first general election since the overthrow of the Taliban at the end of 2001.

The top UN representative in Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, welcomed the delay. He said it would allow time for security to be improved around the country.

The June election deadline had been seen as increasingly unrealistic given the slow pace of voter registration and lingering security worries.