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Afghan Recount Delayed Again

Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah, left, and Ashraf Ghani announce an audit plan in Kabul on July 12, 2014.

Afghan officials have again suspended the auditing of votes from the country's runoff presidential election.

They said Saturday the count was delayed because presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has not yet agreed on how ballots will be determined to be valid or invalid.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke separately by telephone Friday with Abdullah and rival candidate Ashraf Ghani to offer support for the Afghan election process. The State Department says 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 Secretary Kerry to Afghanistan in July.

Analysts say the political uncertainty is hurting the Afghan economy and that delays in the election audit could seriously jeopardize Afghanistan’s future.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.