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UN Afghan Neutrality Questioned   
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Abdullah Abdullah, the main challenger to Afghanistan's incumbent President Karzai, has called for an inquiry nto the UN's role since the August poll.

He said serious questions had been raised about the neutrality of the UN special envoy to the country, Kai Eide. Along with the Afghan authorities, the UN is responsible for the election's smooth running and investigating claims of fraud.

The accusation comes after the dismissal of a key deputy to Mr Eide. Peter Galbraith said he was sacked over a dispute with his superior about how to handle allegations of fraud. He said Mr Eide had chosen to side with President Hamid Karzai, an accusation the UN denies.

Dr Abdullah said the incident had "greatly damaged" the UN's standing in the country. "It took a brave individual [Peter Galbraith] to stand up for transparency," said Dr Abdullah. "His remarks and what has happened in the last few weeks - question the neutrality of Kai Eide's mission."

Unofficially, Mr Karzai has won this election.But most of the allegations of fraud are against the president and his supporters. EU election observers have said that about 1.5m votes about a quarter of all ballots - cast in August's presidential vote could be fraudulent.

They say that 1.1m votes cast for Mr Karzai are suspicious. Investigations into voter fraud are ongoing and an official announcement about the result is not expected until next week. Mr Karzai could still be forced into a run-off election, and his challenger would be Dr Abdullah.

Source: BBC

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