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Afghan FM: Abandoning nation would 'embolden' extremists

  • Story Highlights
  • U.N. Security Council to be briefed on Secretary General's report on Afghanistan
  • Ban Ki-moon report: violence is the greatest impediment to the nation's progress
  • Some Western leaders have expressed concern about the presidential ballot
  • Afghan FM: The country has passed the electoral test
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Ahead of a United Nations Security Council briefing Tuesday on Afghanistan, the country's foreign minister urged patience from the international community in dealing with his struggling homeland.

Rangin Dadfar Spanta said abandoning Afghanistan now will only "embolden extremists in the region and beyond."

"What the Afghan nation expects and deserves from a renewed partnership with the international community is the reassurance of long-term commitment and solidarity," Spanta told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

The Security Council will be briefed on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's report on Afghanistan which describes the violence as the single greatest impediment to the nation's progress. Ban also wrote that recent elections were challenging and that serious electoral fraud occurred primarily due to the lack of access to parts of Afghanistan mired in conflict.

Ban's report lays out concerns about a variety of issues including terrorism, narcotics and widespread government corruption.

Some Western leaders have expressed concern about whether the legitimacy of the presidential election has been marred by reports of widespread irregularities.

President Hamid Karzai won 54 percent of the vote in the August 20 election but the numbers will not be certified until the allegations of fraud have been investigated. More than 200,000 of the nearly 5.7 million ballots cast have been tossed and European Union observers have raised questions about 1.5 million more.

How to deal with the fraud has become a thorny issue that has generated squabbling among Western diplomats. Kai Eide, the top U.N. official in Afghanistan, is scheduled to address the Security Council today as is U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, the deputy special U.N. representative. Media reports have described the two men at odds on how to proceed with vote counts.

Spanta said Monday that Afghanistan had passed the electoral test, considering the realities on the ground.

"As with any emerging democracy, undoubtedly, there were irregularities," Spanta said. "But one should not assess a young terrorist-inflicted democracy with the criteria of stable, prosperous and centuries-old democracies. This is not a call to condone fraud and irregularities. But in passing judgment, we should be conscious of the context."

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met privately with Spanta on Monday. Later, Assistant Secretary Philip Crowley told reporters that the United States is continuing to emphasize the importance of election results that will be regarded legitimate by the Afghan people.

"I think they definitely recognize what the international community is trying to do for them, and I think they continue to reject the vision that the Taliban offers or other extremists offer in terms of moving Afghanistan towards a dark past," he said.

All About AfghanistanAfghan PoliticsHamid Karzai

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