This is IN THE NEWS in VOA
Election Commission has a message: Pay no attention to competing claims of
victory in the presidential election. The first ballot counts are not expected until
A candidate needs more than fifty
percent of the vote to avoid a run-off election. The campaigns of President
Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah both claimed a
In all, there were more than
thirty candidates in the election Thursday. It was the second presidential
election in Afghan history.
Observers from the International
Republican Institute, financed by the American government, say the voting
process was well organized. But they called for investigation of a large number
of reports of voter registration cards being sold.
President Obama on Friday praised
the millions of Afghans who took part in their country's presidential and
provincial elections. He called the vote an "important step forward" as
the Afghan people seek to control their future.
At least twenty-six people died
in election day violence. The Taliban had threatened to attack voters. Afghanistan's
chief elections officer, Daoud Ali Najafi, says turnout may have been low in
provinces under a high security threat. But he says there were many provinces
where turnout was high.
He says the turnout will be announced as soon as
officials get final numbers from the provinces. Voter turnout was seventy
percent in the two thousand four election.
Afghanistan, with help from one
hundred thousand foreign troops, is battling an insurgency led by the Taliban. July
was the deadliest month yet for American and NATO forces in eight years of war
in Afghanistan. Seventy-six coalition service members were killed, forty-five
of them American.
President Obama aims to defeat
the Taliban by sending more troops and development aid to Afghanistan while reducing
troop strength in Iraq.
In Iraq, a series of bombings
Wednesday killed more than one hundred people in Baghdad. The main targets were
government buildings. It was the deadliest day in the capital since American
combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities on June thirtieth. They withdrew under
a security agreement that calls for American combat forces to leave Iraq by the
end of two thousand eleven.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
blamed the violence on Sunnis linked to al-Qaida. He said his government must
re-examine security measures. But Steven Biddle at the Council on Foreign
Relations in Washington says there is a bigger problem.
He says the Sunni community feels
it is not fairly represented in the Shiite-led government. He says it will be
difficult for Iraqi security forces to stop Sunni attacks, unless Sunnis
themselves decide to stop them like they did in two thousand seven.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by
Brianna Blake with Steve Herman and Deborah Block. I'm Steve Ember.