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Karzai, Clinton Discuss Afghan Leader's Call for Earlier Vote


The Afghan government says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss his demand to hold presidential elections earlier than planned.

Afghan officials on Sunday did not provide details of the talks, but said that the two spoke hours after Mr. Karzai issued his decree Saturday to hold the vote in April instead of August.

The U.S. State Department Saturday said August would be a better time to hold elections.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission has already set August 20 as the date for the polls in order to give 17,000 incoming U.S. troops time to improve security in the country.

The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, told CNN television Sunday that holding elections earlier will generate a higher level of risk.

The Afghan leader wants presidential elections to be held according to the country's constitution - 30 to 60 days before his five-year term expires on May 21.

Opposition leaders have said Mr. Karzai's position would be illegitimate if he remained in office beyond May 21.

U.S. support for the embattled president came into question recently after the Obama administration openly accused Mr. Karzai of failing to crack down on government corruption.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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