Afghan President, Challenger Endorse Runoff

Afghanistan's president and his challenger are both ruling out a power-sharing deal before the November 7th runoff. In TV interviews broadcast Sunday from Kabul, Hamid Karzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said they're committed to a second-round of voting, despite security and logistical challenges and the threat of Taliban attacks.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Also in Afghanistan, a presidential runoff election is underway. The runoff was declared after allegations of fraud in the first round. That reduced President Hamid Karzai's lead in that round.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now he faces a second vote, and over the weekend both candidates turned up on Sunday TV. President Karzai told his American audience he knows what's required.

President HAMID KARZAI (Afghanistan): Whatever happens, this election must present a clear result and that result must be respected. But of course, the international community and the Afghans must do everything that we can to make it better, to make it much more legitimate, and to make it worthwhile of the effort of Afghan people.

MONTAGNE: President Karzai spoke on CNN. So did his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a longtime Afghan diplomat.

Mr. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH (Afghan Presidential Candidate): One chapter is behind us. It led to the runoff and we need to get it corrected in order to open the door for the new chapter. So denying it is not the solution rather than admitting it, and correcting it will be responsible leadership.

INSKEEP: American officials have been hoping that whoever wins in next month's voting will be accepted as a legitimate leader.

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