U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah amid a deadlock over a contested election. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Friday (July 11) to discuss the outcome of last month's run-off election. Abdullah's camp rejected preliminary results of the election as a "coup" against the people, putting him on a dangerous collision course with his rival, Ashraf Ghani, who won the June 14 second round with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The deadlock over the vote has quashed hopes for a smooth transition of power in Afghanistan, a concern for Washington as most U.S.-led forces withdraw from the nation this year. The United States believes the results of the final tally in the second round should not be released until the audits have been completed. Washington considers the results to be preliminary. "The United States has one overriding interest here, and that is the people of Afghanistan, that Afghanistan have a government that is recognized by all the people through a legitimate democratic process. And we want a unified, stable, democratic Afghanistan. It is important that whoever is president is recognized by the people as having become president through a legitimate process, and that a government be one that can unify the people and lead into the future. The results that were announced on Monday are preliminary; they are neither authoritative nor final, and no one should be stating a victory at this point in time," Kerry said before his meeting with Abdullah. On his part Abdullah thanked the United States for their support to Afghanistan. "At a very critical time you have proved your commitment to Afghanistan, to saving Afghanistan, and saving the democratic process here," Abdullah said. Kerry rushed to Kabul from meetings in China on Friday in a hastily arranged visit for talks with the two presidential contenders, Abdullah and Ghani, as well as incumbent Hamid Karzai and other senior officials.