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US Commander: Afghan Election Marks End of Rule of Gun - 2004-10-13

The Commander of U.S forces in Afghanistan says Saturday's presidential election was a turning point that "spells the end of the rule of the gun in the war-battered country."

Lt. General David Barno told reporters in Kabul Wednesday the election confirmed that the Afghan people can hope for a democratic future based on the rule of law.

Meanwhile, Afghan election officials say they are preparing to start vote counting, as U.N. officials investigate alleged irregularities in country's landmark presidential election.

Many candidates challenging interim President Hamid Karzai had complained of irregularities while voting was still underway. But Mr. Karzai's main rival, Yunus Qanooni, and several other candidates have since agreed to accept the election results after the investigation.

A private survey of voters indicates President Karzai will be a clear winner