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Kerry Threatens to Cut Afghan Aid if Candidate Tries Power Grab

KABUL, Afghanistan - Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to cut financial and military aid to Afghanistan if any party tries to seize power illegally. His threat comes amid an electoral impasse that has worsened ethnic tensions and raised fears that Afghanistan could once again be plunged into civil war. “I have noted reports of protests in Afghanistan and of suggestions of a ‘parallel government’ with the gravest concern,” he said in a statement late Monday during a trip to Asia. Afghanistan, relies heavily on foreign aid, although most foreign forces are scheduled to leave the country this year.

Preliminary election results released earlier Monday put ex-finance minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in the lead for the presidency. Alleging massive electoral fraud, his opponent Abdullah Abdullah has rejected the results. "I assure you people of Afghanistan that I will sacrifice for you, but I will never accept a fraudulent government," he told his supporters. The former foreign minister has not said publicly he would form a parallel government, although his supporters have.

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- Fazul Rahim