UN secretary-general arrives in Afghanistan

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Associated Press

Posted on November 2, 2009 at 4:04 AM

KABUL (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (bahn kee-moon) is in Afghanistan as the nation grapples with its ever-deepening election crisis.

Ban's visit comes a day after President Hamid Karzai's (HAH'-mihd KAR'-zeyez) only challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, announced he's pulling out of Saturday's runoff election.

The move effectively hands Karzai a victory. It's still unclear if the vote will go forward.

Ban will meet with both men "to assure them and the Afghan people" of the U.N.'s continuing support.

The two had been in talks about a power-sharing deal, and negotiations may still be going on. Abdullah chose not to boycott the vote, a conciliatory move that could mean he is still hoping for a deal.

While Abdullah has said his decision is final, a spokesman says his camp could be open to holding the runoff, if it's delayed to put safeguards in to prevent fraud.

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<<CUT …038 (11/02/09)>> 00:13 "challenger Abdullah Abdullah"

Heidi Vogt (voht)

AP Correspondent Heidi Vogt reports U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Afghanistan on a two-pronged mission that includes the country's disputed presidential election.

<<CUT …039 (11/02/09)>> 00:12 "of the country"

Heidi Vogt (voht)

AP Correspondent Heidi Vogt reports U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Afghanistan, partly to talk to the presidential rivals.

<<CUT …080 (11/02/09)>> 00:08 "what government emerges"

Hardin Lang

International security analyst Hardin Lang says the decision by former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah to drop out of the race affects President Barack Obama's decision about troop levels in Afghanistan.

<<CUT …081 (11/02/09)>> 00:11 "the electoral process"

Hardin Lang

International security analyst Hardin Lang says President Barack Obama needs to know who's in office in Afghanistan before deciding how many more troops to send there.

<<CUT …082 (11/02/09)>> 00:11 "to the system"

Hardin Lang

International security analyst Hardin Lang says he can understand why Abdullah Abdullah doesn't want to take part in another election right now.

<<APPHOTO KAB114 (11/01/09)>>

: An election poster of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who was a presidential candidate in the Aug. 20 vote, is seen, right, as supporters of Afghanistan's presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah leave a gathering after Abdullah announced his withdrawal from the run-off election in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. President Hamid Karzai's challenger withdrew Sunday from next weekend's runoff election, effectively handing the incumbent a victory but raising doubts about the government's credibility at a time when the U.S. is seeking an effective partner in the war against the Taliban.

<<APPHOTO KAB116 (11/01/09)>>

: Afghanistan's presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah is seen after announcing his decision not to participate in Afghanistan's run-off election during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. President Hamid Karzai's challenger withdrew Sunday from next weekend's runoff election, effectively handing the incumbent a victory but raising doubts about the government's credibility at a time when the U.S. is seeking an effective partner in the war against the Taliban.

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