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Karzai Postpones Afghan Elections Until September - 2004-03-28


Afghanistan's interim President Hamid Karzai says landmark presidential elections will take place in September -- three months later than originally scheduled.

Speaking to reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul (today / Sunday), Mr. Karzai said the delay will allow the United Nations to administer both presidential and parliamentary elections at the same time.

Under the Bonn peace accords drawn up in late 2001, soon after the fall of the Taliban government, Afghanistan was due to hold democratic elections in June of this year.

Officials had warned that the elections might be postponed because of logistical problems and security concerns.

Another reason for the delay is low voter registration. So far, only one-and-a-half million of the more than 10 million estimated eligible voters are believed to have been registered. Plans to register more remain unclear in the face of continued attacks by remnants of the ousted Taliban government, who have threatened to disrupt the poll.

More than 600 people have died in militant-related violence in the south and east of the country since last August. Many international aid workers have left the two regions because of safety concerns.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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