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Afghan Presidential Candidate Claims to Discuss Forming Coalition - 2004-10-04

A candidate in Afghanistan's Saturday presidential election says he is in talks with other contenders to form a coalition to oppose interim President Hamid Karzai.

Former education minister Yunus Qanooni told a crowd in northern Balkh province Monday he has discussed a unified challenge with candidates including General Abdul Rashid Dostum and Mohammed Mohaqeq.

But the Associated Press quoted representatives for those two contenders as denying Mr. Qanooni's comments.

There are 18 candidates in the upcoming election.

Meanwhile, a U.N.-sponsored organization says it has completed voter registrations for about 650,000 Afghan refugees who live in Pakistan.

The International Organization for Migration says women account for about 25 percent of the people it registered in a four-day drive that ended today.

About 400,000 Afghan refugees in Iran are expected to vote.