UN says it's ready to help settle Afghan political crisis

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 20, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.N. says it's ready to help mediate a crisis that could stand in the way of a smooth transition of power in Afghanistan.

One of the two presidential candidates who took part in a runoff last week, Abdullah Abdullah, has accused electoral officials and others of trying to rig the vote against him. He suggested that the U.N. step in.

President Hamid Karzai said today he's met with U.N. officials and has spoken with Abdullah about the allegations of election fraud. Karzai says the two candidates should choose between U.N. mediation and talks that would be overseen by his two vice presidents.

A U.N. spokesman in Afghanistan says the organization is awaiting further details.

Abdullah, a former foreign minister, won the first round of balloting in April but failed to get the majority needed to avoid a runoff. He is facing Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (ahsh-RAHF' gah-NEE' ah-mahd-ZEYE'), a former finance minister.

The standoff could affect the security pact with the United States that would let nearly 10,000 combat troops stay in Afghanistan after this year. Both candidates have promised to sign it, but they'd have to be sworn in first.

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APPHOTO CAI119: FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai stands as he listens to the national anthem during his last campaign rally in Kabul, Afghanistan. A proposal for the U.N. to mediate a crisis over allegations of election fraud gained momentum Friday, June 20, as President Hamid Karzai backed the idea and the U.N. said it stood ready to help. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File) (20 Jun 2014)

<<APPHOTO CAI119 (06/20/14)££

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