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UN begins distributing Afghan runoff ballots

KABUL (AP) - Ballots and voting kits are already heading out across Afghanistan ahead of the Nov. 7 presidential runoff.

International election monitors called on authorities to avert the widespread fraud that marred the first round of voting in August as the United Nations began delivering voting materials today.

Organizing the ballot in a little more than two weeks poses a huge challenge amid a growing Taliban insurgency and ahead of mountainous Afghanistan's winter snows, which begin around the middle of November. Also, scores of election staff accused of misconduct have been fired and new personnel still need to be hired.

President Hamid Karzai will face former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah after Karzai bowed to intense U.S. pressure and acknowledged he fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed for outright victory.

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