U.S. Secretary of State
Kerry arrived in the capital, Kabul, in the evening and met separately with the two candidates, whose runoff election in June led to a slow and contentious hand recount of the 8 million votes cast.
Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who met with Kerry at
That process, meant to address accusations of widespread fraud, has faced several hurdles. The recount has been stopped five times in just over three weeks as the two sides could not come to an agreement on the terms of invalidating votes.
On Wednesday, local news media reported a physical fight between observers for Ghani and Abdullah.
A statement from the
Earlier in the day, the two candidates met at Abdullah's residence to discuss a joint statement they hope to release on details of a unity government that they agreed to during their meetings with Kerry last month.
As Afghans continue to wait for a resolution to the vote, Karzai called on both teams and international observers to complete the process by Aug. 25 in preparation for an inauguration in the beginning of September. Kerry is said to want the new president installed before a summit of the
The inauguration was previously scheduled for Aug. 2 but was pushed back by the vote audit. The observers, including teams from the
The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan had hoped to audit 1,000 ballot boxes a day.