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Most Candidates Urge Boycott Of Afghan Election

Kabul, 9 October 2004 (RFE/RL) -- At least 14 of Afghan Transitional Administration head Hamid Karzai's opponents in today's presidential election have called for a boycott of the election because of alleged voting irregularities and said they will not recognize the results.

Despite the problems, reports continue to indicate that voter turnout has been high around the country.

Candidate Abdul Satar Sirat, speaking from his home during voting, said that "today's election is not a legitimate election. It should be stopped and we don't recognize the results." Sirat said he spoke for all the other candidates running against Karzai, although some international media have reported that 14 of the 15 challengers to presumed front-runner Karzai are challenging the proceedings.

Another candidate in the election, former Education Minister Mohammad Yunos Qanuni, said the election should be halted because of irregularities.

There were also complaints about Qanuni's supporters campaigning in Kabul's Khair Khana district in defiance of restrictions.

One man called RFE/RL's Afghan service to describe what he saw earlier today in Khair Khana: "According to election regulations, campaigning ended several days ago. But unfortunately, today Mr. Qanuni's supporters were campaigning in Khair Khana at the election centers," he said. "His team was putting up posters and cars with Qanuni's poster were driving back and forth along the roads with people talking through loudspeakers urging people to vote Qanuni. I understand this is a violation of election rules."

[For more on the Afghan elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" webpage.]