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IEC chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said on Saturday that presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, a former commander in the now defunct Northern Alliance and a former foreign minister in the years after the 2001 US invasion, had extended his lead over the closest rival by 11 percentage points.
The figures showed that Abdullah is leading with 44.4 per cent of the vote compared to 33 per cent for Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister. In third place is Zalmai Rassoul with 10 per cent of the vote so far.
The preliminary results will be announced on April 28. In the meantime, the Commission says it is ready to hold a runoff election should no candidate achieve 50+1 in the results.
The winner will replace Hamid Karzai, who has been president since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban.
Meanwhile, in Faryab province some 425km northwest of Kabul, three Taliban fighters were killed in a clash with security forces that left another seven people wounded.