17 October 2004 -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai is well ahead of his rivals in Afghanistan's election after nearly 5 pecent of the ballots had been counted.
Election officials say that former Education Minister Yunos Qanuni is trailing in second place, with General Abdul Rashid Dostum following in third place.
Afghanistan's first-ever democratic elections were completed without major violence but were hit by allegations of fraud. An international panel was appointed to investigate the allegations.
Electoral officials are urging caution about predicting the result. Associated Press quoted Reginald Austin, the chief technical adviser to the joint UN-Afghan election commission, as saying it would be "unwise" to extrapolate from incomplete results. He noted this is the first vote of its kind in Afghanistan, and that "unknown patterns may emerge."
(AP/AFP)[For more on the Afghan elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" webpage.]