Afghan officials have resumed auditing votes from the country's runoff presidential election after suspending the count Saturday because presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah had not yet agreed on how ballots would be determined to be valid or invalid.
The recount resumed Sunday morning after a delay despite the absence of Abdullah's electoral team. However, the team of rival candidate Ashraf Ghani and national and international observers were present.
Analysts say the political uncertainty is hurting the Afghan economy and that delays in the election audit could seriously jeopardize Afghanistan’s future.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke separately by telephone Friday with Abdullah and Ghani to offer support for the election process. The State Department said Kerry stressed the need for the post-election audit to be completed in a timely manner.
In preparation for the audit, more than 8 million ballots have been arriving in Kabul from every corner of Afghanistan. More than 22,000 are to be examined for signs of fraud.
The deal was cut during an emergency visit by Kerry to Afghanistan in July.