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Policeman guns down three US citizens at Kabul hospital

An Afghan policeman opened fire at a Kabul hospital run by a US charity on Thursday, killing three Americans including a doctor, in the latest deadly attack targeting foreign civilians in the city. The gunman shot himself in the incident outside the CURE International hospital and was detained by police after being treated inside, officials said, adding that the motive for the killing was not clear. "He opened fire as the foreign nationals were entering the hospital, tragically killing three," Seddiq Sediqqi, spokesman for the interior ministry, told AFP.

Afghan presidential election set for Abdullah-Ghani run-off

By Hamid Shalizi and Jeremy Laurence KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghanistan presidential vote is poised to go to a run-off, the election chief said on Thursday, after the latest tally of ballots showed neither Abdullah Abdullah nor Ashraf Ghani securing an outright majority. Former foreign minister Abdullah and ex-World Bank official Ghani have taken an insurmountable lead, but both are polling well under 50 percent with just over 82 percent of the vote counted, setting the stage for a second round between the pair in late May.

Abdullah in lead as Afghan election set for run-off

Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah retained a clear lead in the latest Afghan presidential election results released Thursday, but he remained below the threshold needed for a decisive first-round victory. Abdullah has secured 43.8 percent of the vote, with his main rival Ashraf Ghani on 32.9 percent, election officials said, after about 80 percent of ballots were counted. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent, a second-round run-off between the two leading names is scheduled for May 28.

Afghan vote was 'fair': Iranian official

A top Iranian official declared Wednesday that Afghanistan's presidential election was held fairly in a sign of progress for the country, despite final results being delayed because of fraud allegations. The comments by Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, came after it was announced that the April 5 vote winner will be named Saturday, two days later than planned.

Afghan election result delayed due to fraud probe

Afghanistan's preliminary presidential election result has been delayed by two days due to fraud investigations and will now be released on Saturday, officials said Wednesday as they vowed to sift out fake votes. Partial results from the April 5 election to succeed President Hamid Karzai have already been released, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah ahead of his main rival Ashraf Ghani after half of the ballots were counted.

Hole in Afghan budget stirs unease as West starts packing bags

By Jeremy Laurence and Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - A $375 million hole in the Afghan budget is threatening public projects and civil servants' salaries, officials say, putting the aid-dependent economy under stress just as Afghanistan awaits a new leader and foreign troops prepare to go home. U.S., U.N. and Afghan finance ministry officials have discussed ways to resolve what they say has become a critical situation for the budget, with civil projects most at risk as international assistance starts to taper off.

Afghan election result delayed due to fraud probe

Afghanistan's presidential election result has been delayed by two days due to fraud investigations and will now be released on Saturday, officials said Wednesday as they vowed to sift out fake votes. Partial results from the April 5 election to succeed President Hamid Karzai have already been released, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah ahead of his main rival Ashraf Ghani after half of the ballots were counted.

Afghan election result delayed due to fraud probe

Afghanistan's presidential election result has been delayed by two days due to fraud investigations and will now be released on Saturday, officials said Wednesday as they vowed to sift out fake votes. Partial results from the April 5 election to succeed President Hamid Karzai have already been released, with former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah ahead of his main rival Ashraf Ghani after half of the ballots were counted.

Afghan campaign worker shot dead outside his home; Taliban deny attack

KABUL - A prominent campaign worker in Afghanistan's presidential election was shot dead outside his home in the country's east, officials said Tuesday. The Taliban denied they were involved in the killing. Campaign worker Esmatullah, who like many Afghan men uses only one name, was returning home from visiting a friend on Monday afternoon when unknown gunmen opened fire outside his house in Logar province, provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish said.

Taliban negotiator released in UAE, returns to Kabul: peace body

KABUL (Reuters) - A top Afghan peace negotiator held under house arrest in the United Arab Emirates has been released and returned to Kabul, an Afghan peace council official said on Monday, seemingly closing the door on a peace track favored by President Hamid Karzai. Agha Jan Mutassim, a finance minister during Taliban rule from 1996-2001, was confined to his home in the UAE after arranging a meeting in Dubai between Afghan and Taliban officials in February.
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