ISLAMABAD-Afghan Presidential candidates, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, have agreed to 100 percent audit of the votes casted in runoff presidential election, Secretary of State John Kerry announced late Saturday after he brokered the deal after two-day of hectic talks in Kabul.
Kerry succeeded to end the impasse that has raised serious concerns at a possible political crisis at a sensitive time when the foreign troops are finalizing exit strategy.
“Both candidates have agreed to audits. Every single ballot cast will be 100% audited," Kerry announced at a late Saturday presser in the presence Dr Abdullah and Dr Ghani at the UN compound in Kabul.
"The audit will be carried out in Kabul and will begin in 24 hours. It will start in the ballot boxes located in Kabul," the US Secretary of State said. The press conference was aired live by all major Afghan TV channels and monitored here.
Kerry said the UN mission in Kabul has asked the President to postpone the inaugural of new president. The transfer of power was scheduled on August 2.Both candidates also appealed to Mr Karzai to delay the inauguration of the new leader while speaking to reporters.
"Both candidates agreed to abide by the results of the audit," Kerry said.
"The result of our negotiations is to reach to unit Afghanistan and to prevent country's breakdown," Kerry said.
He praised what he called the spirit of compromise and leadership that has brought all together at the press conference.
"We have been involved in serious constructive talks over the past two days," he said.
"Both candidates have supported and upheld their values and the constitutional process," the top US diplomat said.
He said Afghan electoral organizations need to review the fraud allegations, adding both will abide by the constitutions, Kerry announced.
Kerry said the audit of the votes will start within the next 24 hours in capital Kabul and votes from the provinces will be transported in Kabul with the help of ISAF and Afghan security forces. He said the two presidential candidates have agreed to abide by the results of the extensive audit.
Kerry added that the audit of the votes will be supervised by international observers including the United Nations and observers of the presidential candidates.
Dr Abdullah, speaking at the presser, also appealed to President Karzai to postpone the inauguration of the new President. Speaking in English, Pashto and Dari, he said his team has rejoined the election process.
Dr Ghani speaking at the presser also thanked Kerry for his efforts to settle the crisis. He said the recounting of the votes will remove all ambiguity. He said both candidates will abide by the choice of the people.
He also said he will not support any fraudulent vote. He also requested President Karzai to delay the transfer of power to the new leader.
Dr Ghani said that forming a gov't of national unity, should assure every Afghan, regardless who they voted for, are committed to the well being of every Afghan.
He said both candidates abide by the people's will and agreed to form a government of national unit.
"We have committed to most thorough investigation in history. We categorically abide by will of people. Fraud has no place."
"I stand together with Abdullah Abdullah to show to the Afghans that both of us abide by the decision of the people."
"The today's agreement shows that both of us are committed to the well being of the Afghan people."
UN representative Kubiš said the UN will support and provide assistance to a unique and inclusive audit. He thanked the US for their works in bringing the two candidates to come together in the Saturday's agreements.