Afghan challenger drops out of runoff election

Afghan challenger drops out of runoff election

President Hamid Karzai’s challenger withdrew Sunday from next weekend’s runoff election, effectively handing the incumbent a victory but raising doubts about the government’s credibility at a time when the U.S. is seeking an effective partner in the war against the Taliban.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said he made his decision after Karzai turned down his demands for changes to the Independent Election Commission and other measures that he said would prevent massive fraud, which marred the first round of balloting on Aug. 20.

Abdullah stopped short of calling for an electoral boycott and urged his followers “not to go to the streets, not to demonstrate.” [continued…]

U.S. combat injuries rise sharply

More than 1,000 American troops have been wounded in battle over the past three months in Afghanistan, accounting for one-fourth of those injured in combat since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

The dramatic increase in amputees and other seriously injured service members comes as October marks the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. [continued…]

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