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Vote Counting Begins in Afghan Presidential Election  - 2004-10-14

Afghan election officials say vote counting began Thursday -- five days after the country's landmark presidential election.

They say electoral workers began tallying ballots, after a United Nations -sponsored panel of experts carried out an initial examination of complaints filed by rivals of interim Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Investigators are expected to look into the complaints further. But vote-counting will go ahead in the meantime.

Several major candidates, including Mr. Karzai's main rival, Yunus Qanooni, agreed to accept the election results after an investigation is conducted.

Election officials say vote counting is likely to take weeks.

A private survey conducted after the election has predicted Mr. Karzai will be the winner.