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Obama says Afghanistan presidential poll successful

2009-08-21 07:47 BJT

Special Report: Afghan presidential election |

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday that the Afghan presidential election appeared to have been a success and that the United States will continue to monitor the situation in Afghanistan.

Women count ballot papers after the close of polling stations at a polling centre in Herat, western Afghanistan August 20, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Women count ballot papers after the close of polling stations at
a polling centre in Herat, western Afghanistan August 20, 2009. 
(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

"We had what appears to be a successful election in Afghanistan, despite the Taliban's efforts to disrupt it," the president told Michael Smerconish, who is hosting a talk show for a CBS Radio station located in Philadelphia.

"We have to focus on finishing the job in Afghanistan but it is going to take some time," said the president.

Despite Taliban attacks in 15 provinces, millions of Afghans on Thursday went to 7,000 polling stations across the country to choose their president, who is elected for a five-year tenure and could serve a maximum of two terms.

Among the 41 candidates, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Financial Minister Ashraf Ghani are main rivals of President Karzai, who won the 2004 presidential election with 55 percent of the vote.