With almost 70 percent of the vote counted in Afghanistan's presidential election, interim President Hamid Karzai appears to be holding on to his solid lead in the race.


Mr. Karzai has almost 56 percent of tallied votes so far. Former education minister Younus Qanooni is in second place with over 17 percent of the vote.


The winner needs just 50 percent and one vote to avoid a runoff.


Former anti-Taleban commanders Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and Abdul Rashid Dostum are vying for third place, with each receiving about 10 percent of the vote.


International observers certified the election as fair, but a U.N. panel is investigating candidates' concerns about vote fraud. 

The panel's findings and a final official vote count are not expected for at least several days.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.