Kabul: Afghanistan will not have a new president in time for a key NATO summit next week, officials said Thursday, as the country`s prolonged election crisis lurched towards another damaging delay.
The latest deadline of September 2 was abandoned as a UN-supervised audit of all eight million votes has fallen behind schedule, with both candidates still claiming victory in the fraud-tainted vote.
A NATO summit in Britain from September 4-5 is meant to agree on future support for Afghanistan after the 13-year US-led combat mission ends this year.
But NATO members have stressed a new president should be in place before the summit to prove that the country has becoming a functioning state after receiving billions of dollars of military and civilian aid assistance.
Jan Kubis, the UN mission chief, told President Hamid Karzai "that a rigorous and credible audit required time, but could be completed around 10 September", according to a UN statement.
"Following all necessary steps, as required by law, the inauguration of the new President should then be possible soon after," it said.
The US had been leading a strong international effort to push for the next president to be inaugurated by September 2 to allow him to attend the summit.