International leaders put pressure on Karzai

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The Independent Online

Several international political leaders, including Gordon Brown, have phoned the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in what appeared to be a diplomatic offensive over the country's disputed presidential election. The calls came just before the UN-backed Electoral Complaints Commission was due to announce the findings of its investigation into allegations of fraud in the 20 August ballot.

There were suggestions that enough votes would be eliminated from Mr Karzai's tally to trigger a run-off against the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Pressure is mounting on Mr Karzai to take part in a second round or form a power-sharing government.