UN will respect Afghan decision on run-off: Ban
Kabul: The United Nations will respect and support any decision by the Afghan Independent Election Commission on whether to organise a run-off presidential ballot, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.
"If and when the Independent Election Commission makes a decision consistent with the constitutional procedures... the United Nations will respect and support that decision," Ban told a press conference in Kabul.
"The United Nations and the international community will stand together and walk together with the next government and the people of Afghanistan."
Ban's comments came as the IEC was due to announce whether the election scheduled for November 7 would still take place.
President Hamid Karzai's sole challenger, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, pulled out of the contest on Sunday, citing fears of a repeat of the fraud which marred August's first round.
Ban reiterated that last week's deadly attack on a guesthouse for UN staff in Kabul, which was claimed by the Taliban insurgent militia, would not deter the world body from fulfilling its mission in Afghanistan.
"Many Afghans seem to be worried about what lies ahead, if the international support will hold firm," said Ban.
"There has been speculation that the United Nations will evacuate Afghanistan... We will not be deterred, cannot be deterred and must not be deterred and the work of the United Nations will continue."