Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah (C) talks during an interview with AFP at his residence in Kabul on August 9, 2014. AFP photo/ Wakil Kohsar
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Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah said Saturday that his country was entering "a new phase" in an interview with AFP, raising hopes that a bitter dispute over fraud-tainted elections might soon be resolved.Abdullah stressed that the vote audit must be completed in time to have a new president before a NATO summit in Britain on September 4-5 -- a key demand of the US.The summit is scheduled to endorse a US-led NATO "training and advisory" mission in Afghanistan next year after all foreign combat troops withdraw by December.US-led foreign troop numbers have declined from a peak of 150,000 in 2012 to just 44,300 now, and NATO combat operations are winding down fast after 13 years of fighting that have failed to defeat the Taliban.
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