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Leading Afghan Presidential Candidate Vows To Sign U.S. Pact

National Coalition leader Abdullah Abdullah at a press conference in Kabul in January
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah says he will sign a security agreement with the United States "within one month" if he is elected president.

Abdullah, a former foreign minister who is considered a front-runner among the 11 candidates running in the April 5 election, made his comments in an interview with AP on March 13.

He also criticized President Hamid Karzai for refusing to sign the bilateral security agreement that was negotiated between Kabul and Washington late last year.

The deal would regulate the keeping of international forces in Afghanistan after 2014.

All foreign combat troops are slated to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of this year.

Abdullah finished second to Karzai in the disputed 2009 election but declined to take part in a second-round runoff, citing election fraud.

Abdullah has expressed concern over possible fraud in this year's election.

Abdullah leads the opposition National Coalition.

Based on reporting by AP