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Flag of Afghanistan
  1. Afghanistan Main Page
  2. Soviet Invasion
  3. The Rise of the Taliban
  4. The U.S. Responds to the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks
  5. Reemergence of the Taliban
  6. Taliban Attacks Become More Deadly
  7. Afghanistan Holds Second Direct Presidential Elections
  8. Support for the War on the Wane
  9. Osama bin Laden Is Killed
  10. Violence and Assassinations Diminish Confidence in Afghanistan's Security Forces
  11. U.S. Begins to Reduce Its Role in Afghanistan as Relationship Deteriorates
  12. Karzai Rejects Security Deal with U.S.
  13. Voter Turnout Unexpectedly High in Presidential Election; Runoff Marred by Allegations of Fraud
  14. Taliban Detainees Released in Prisoner Swap With U.S.
Voter Turnout Unexpectedly High in Presidential Election; Runoff Marred by Allegations of Fraud

April's elections were successful for the high voter turnout and the lack of violence or attempts to disrupt the vote. About 60% of registered voters turned out to vote for president and provincial councils. The Taliban had threatened to interfere with the election and warned Afghanis not to vote, but citizens seemed to have ignored the threats. In the weeks leading up to the elections, the Taliban attacked a voter registration center and the election commission headquarters, but there were few reports of violence on election day. Eight candidates ran for president. Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, took about 45%, followed by Ashraf Ghani, a former minister of finance and World Bank official, who garnered 31.5%, necessitating a runoff election.

The runoff was held on June 14, and there were widespread allegations of fraud. Abdullah claimed the race was rigged, saying the election commission and Karzai conspired against him. Ghani and Karzai are both Pashtuns, while Abdullah Abdullah's ethnicity is Tajik-Pashtun. Abdullah refused to accept any decision reached by the country's election commission, and threatened to form a parallel government. Preliminary results put Ghani ahead, 56.4% to 43.6%. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Kabul to try to work out a compromise between Ghani and Abduullah. After an intense 12-hour negotiation session, the parties agreed that each of the 8.1 million votes cast would be audited. The winner would form a unity government, with the second-place finisher serving as chief executive of the government. For the moment, the compromise seemed to save the country from falling into a civil war.

The 2014 election controversy echoed that of the 2009 runoff between Karzai and Abdullah, which was also marred by allegations of fraud. Abdullah withdrew from the race in protest of the Karzai administration's refusal to dismiss election officials accused of taking part in the widespread fraud.

Next: Taliban Detainees Released in Prisoner Swap With U.S.
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