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Karzai offers gov't jobs to presidential rivals

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai says he will win next week

Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. After seven years in office, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's star is rapidly waning in Washington, with President Barack Obama saying Afghanistan's government is detached from the surrounding communities it is supposed to serve. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

KABUL (AP) - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai says he will win next week's presidential election and that he will offer government positions to two of his top challengers.

Afghans vote next Thursday for president at a time when large swaths of the country are embroiled in a violent insurgency. More than 100,000 international troops and 175,000 Afghan forces are deployed to provide security.

Karzai is the leading candidate in a crowded field of three dozen contenders. He is trailed by his former foreign and finance ministers, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.

Karzai's pronouncement Thursday seems designed to offer a pre-election deal to those two rivals and offset any postelection tensions. He did not say what positions he would offer.


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