7 Sep 2009

Karzai extends lead in Afghanistan election

4:10 pm on 7 September 2009

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai has extended his lead in the country's presidential election.

The BBC reports that with three-quarters of votes counted, Mr Karzai has 48.6%, followed by Abdullah Abdullah with 31.7%.

Results from 447 of about 28,000 polling stations had been annulled, after fraud investigations.

The winner of the 20 August poll needs to secure an outright majority of 50% to avoid a run-off.

International conference

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have called for an international conference on Afghanistan before the end of the year.

Mr Brown says the aim would be to encourage the Afghan police, army and general population to take more responsibility for the future of their country.

He says Germany and Britain are major contributors to the 41-nation coalition on Afghanistan, and other countries must help share the burden.