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Hague praises Afghanistan voters

William Hague has welcomed the high turnout in Afghanistan's presidential election run-off and urged both candidates to show "patience and respect" to the authorities.

Around 60% of the population are said to have taken part in the poll to find a replacement for Hamid Karzai despite threats and intimidation - although nearly 50 people were killed.

"Today the Afghan people have once again shown the world their determination to have a say in their country's future by turning out to vote in large numbers," Mr Hague said.

"They should be hugely proud of their achievement. Their resolve in the face of threats and intimidation is an inspiration."

The contest pit former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah against ex-World Bank official and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, with the winner overseeing the withdrawal of international troops.

Mr Hague said: "I hope that both presidential candidates and their teams will show the same patience and respect to the electoral authorities as they did during the first round.

"It is essential that everyone acts in the interests of stability and national unity.

"The UK looks forward to working with whichever candidate the Afghan people have chosen to become their new president."

Interior Minister Mohammad Umar Daudzai said voting was mostly peaceful but the dead included 20 civilians, 15 soldiers and 11 policemen.

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