Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday refused to accept the preliminary result of a run-off vote that showed his opponent Ashraf Ghani ahead, citing fraud and telling his supporters that the results of the vote were fabricated and that he had won both rounds of voting.
"I am refusing to accept the result. I condemn it and I will not accept it," Abdullah told thousands of supporters at a gathering in Kabul on Tuesday. "We are the winner of this round of elections without any doubt.”
Abdullah said he had received calls from President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after he refused to accept the preliminary result and added that Kerry would be flying to the Afghan capital this Friday for meetings to defuse the crisis.
State Department officials accompanying Kerry in Beijing declined to comment on his travel plans.
Abdullah asked his supporters to give him a few more days to negotiate and that he would never "accept a fraudulent government," going as far as saying the vote that put his arch-rival ahead was "rigged."
"Nobody who has committed fraud should dream they will make their way to the presidential palace," he added.
Preliminary results announced Monday showed that Ghani had about 4.5 million votes, or 56 percent, while Abdullah had 3.5 million votes, or 44 percent, according to the Afghan electoral commission. Turnout was more than 50 percent.
Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, Ghani said he "strongly rejects" the fraud allegations and deemed the second round of elections "a great success."
"We accept these preliminary results ... and we remain silent for the final results," Ghani said. "We believe in maintaining and preserving stability and support completing the process until the final results are revealed."
In a separate development Tuesday, an Afghan official said that at least 16 people, including four Czech soldiers, were killed in a suicide attack near a clinic in eastern Afghanistan.
The Czech Ministry of Defense said Tuesday four Czech troops were killed and another was badly wounded after the blast. The ministry said it will release more details later in the day.
The soldiers, who were stationed at Bagram air base were out on patrol to investigate rocket attacks on the base that occurred a few days ago, Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse reported.
Wahid Seddiqi, spokesman for the provincial governor of Parwan province, where Bagram is located, said the soldiers, at least 10 civilians, and two police officers were killed when a suicide bomber attacked Afghan and foreign forces near Charakar, the provincial capital.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media.
Al Jazeera and wire services