Outgoing Karzai says Afghans need new president, urges speedy end to ballot audit


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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's outgoing leader Hamid Karzai says his nation needs a new president and urged for a speedy conclusion to the ballot audit that will determine his successor.

In a speech marking the start of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the fasting month of Ramadan, Karzai said on Monday that Afghans "want to have an outcome to the election as soon as possible, so that this country can have its president soon."

After fraud was alleged by both presidential contenders, all 8 million ballots cast in the second round of the Afghan presidential vote in June are being audited under national and international supervision.

The process is key to insuring a peaceful transfer of power ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of the year.

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