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Afghan elections delayed

Knight Ridder

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan must postpone elections for a new legislature until September, President Hamid Karzai announced Thursday during a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The delay, which raised questions about democracy in Afghanistan on a day when Rice was in the country to promote it, was the latest speed bump in the country’s efforts to move from the brutal and repressive Taliban regime of four years ago to popular rule. National and local legislative elections originally were scheduled for last June, then rescheduled for May.

“This is a large and complicated country,” Rice said at a briefing with Karzai. “It takes a while to do these things.”

Rice later said in an interview with ABC News that she told the Afghan officials she met with that it was important to hold the elections on time and not delay them again.

Karzai said Afghanistan was “very eagerly waiting” to have a parliament to complete the country’s democratic system, but that the delay was necessary to allow time to register refugees and solve other logistical problems.

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