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KABUL (Reuters) - Confusion surrounded the start of vote counting in Afghanistan's landmark presidential poll on Thursday, with some election officials saying the tally had begun but others adamant it had not.
Five days after the country's first ever direct presidential election, it was not clear whether the eight regional counting centers had begun work, after delays caused by an investigation into voter irregularities, including multiple voting.
"I think most of the eight regional counting centers have started already, and the rest of them should also start today," said Sadeq Mudaber, an Afghan election official.
But other members of the U.N.-Afghan Joint Electoral Management Body said they were unaware of the development, some three hours after the counting had been due to begin. It was not clear why the process had been further delayed.
Reuters reporters in five of the eight counting centers countrywide said the tally had not yet begun.
Irregularities during Saturday's poll overshadowed an otherwise triumphant exercise in which millions of men and women defied threats of attack by Islamic militants and voted for stability after decades of war.
Of the 18 candidates who ran for office, 14 announced a boycott that has since collapsed.