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Afghan Officials Expect Final Results in Presidential Election Next Week


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Afghan election officials say workers are recounting some of the ballots from the disputed August 20 presidential election and should be ready to formally declare a winner by late next week.

Controversy surrounds the poll with allegations of rampant fraud and vote-rigging. Independent monitors have said one-third of all ballots are suspicious. Unofficial tallies indicate President Hamid Karzai leads with about 54 percent of the vote. If his lead dips below 50 percent, he could face top challenger Abdullah Abdullah in a runoff.

The deputy director of the Afghan election commission told reporters Monday that the recount should take a few days and final results should be ready by the end of next week.

The contentious vote count comes as the Obama administration is conducting a broad review of the overall war strategy.

Since Saturday, 10 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, including eight who perished in an assault by hundreds of militant fighters on two outposts in rural Nuristan province.

The assault was the deadliest against U.S. forces in months.

On Monday, NATO officials in Afghanistan said Afghan and international forces detained a number of suspected militants in three separate operations.

The International Security Assistance Force says troops made the arrests after searching compounds northeast of Khost City, buildings west of Kandahar City, and buildings in the Saydabad district of Wardak province.

The joint forces also conducted two separate searches on Sunday in the Gelan district of Ghazni province, and in the Saydabad district of Wardak province.

NATO says no Afghan civilians were injured during the operations.

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

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