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Afghan candidates agree to accept audit

Afghanistan’s rival presidential candidates pledged Friday they would accept the results of an ongoing election audit, with the winner to be inaugurated before the end of August.

The deal comes one day after U.S. Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce 'Green New Deal for Public Housing' | Blinken says US falling behind China as global leader on climate change The shipping industry needs to move in line with the Paris Agreement MORE made a surprise trip to Kabul to end the squabbling between Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah that has threatened to send the country into political freefall.

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"This is really an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem," The Associated Press quoted Kerry as saying at a news conference. "Both parties have agreed to stay at it and both parties have agreed to live by the outcome."

Kerry also met with current Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The breakthrough comes at a critical time for the U.S. and the international community, as world leaders hoped a unity government would be formed by early September, when NATO member states meet in Wales to weigh their options in Afghanistan.
 
Kerry visited just two days after Army Major Gen. Harold Greene was shot and killed by an Afghan soldier at the country’s national defense university.  
 
The shooting rampage, which left 15 coalition troops wounded, has renewed debate over the administration’s plan to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan next year.
 
On Thursday, President Obama said the U.S. would continue to move ahead with its plan.
 
"Now, four months from now, our combat mission to Afghanistan will be complete," he said.