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Kerry in Kabul to try to break deadlock over Afghan presidency

Published on Aug 8, 2014 2:25 AM

KABUL (REUTERS) - US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on Thursday for his second visit in under a month to push a deal between the country's two presidential candidates on how to share power after an audit of a disputed election is complete.

Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah shook hands on an agreement to resolve the election row after Mr Kerry's visit in July but they remain far apart on critical components of their pact to form a united government.

Although a painstaking audit of all eight million ballots cast in the second round of voting is under way, neither candidate has openly endorsed the process and the deadlock has raised the spectre of violent conflict along ethnic lines.

Afghanistan's Western backers hope the audit will produce a legitimate president before a Nato summit in early September.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) meeting Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah at the US embassy in Kabul on August 7, 2014. Mr Kerry arrived in Kabul to pressure feuding presidential candidates to resolve the disputed election result that risks triggering instability as Nato troops withdraw. -- PHOTO: AFP 
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