This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission has a message: Pay no attention to competing claims of victory in the presidential election. The first ballot counts are not expected until Tuesday.
Women line up to vote in Kabul
In all, there were more than thirty candidates in the election Thursday. It was the second presidential election in Afghan history.
Observers from the International Republican Institute, financed by the American government, say the voting process was well organized. But they called for investigation of a large number of reports of voter registration cards being sold.
President Obama on Friday praised the millions of Afghans who took part in their country's presidential and provincial elections. He called the vote an "important step forward" as the Afghan people seek to control their future.
At least twenty-six people died in election day violence. The Taliban had threatened to attack voters. Afghanistan's chief elections officer, Daoud Ali Najafi, says turnout may have been low in provinces under a high security threat. But he says there were many provinces were turnout was high. He says the turnout will be announced as soon as officials get final numbers from the provinces. Voter turnout was seventy percent in the two thousand four election.
Afghanistan, with help from one hundred thousand foreign troops, is battling an insurgency led by the Taliban. July was the deadliest month yet for American and NATO forces in eight years of war. Seventy-six coalition service members were killed, forty-five of them American.
President Obama aims to defeat the Taliban by sending more troops and development aid to Afghanistan while reducing troop strength in Iraq.
A truck bomb exploded outside Iraq's Foreign Ministry
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the violence on Sunnis linked to al-Qaida. He said his government must re-examine security measures. But Steven Biddle at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington says there is a bigger problem.
He says the Sunni community feels it is not fairly represented in the Shiite-led government. He says it will be difficult for Iraqi security forces to stop Sunni attacks, unless Sunnis themselves decide to stop them as they did in two thousand seven.
And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake with Steve Herman and Deborah Block. I'm Steve Ember.