|Abdullah calls Afghan vote result a 'coup', supporters took to streets||
Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah's camp rejected preliminary results of last month's run-off election on Monday as a "coup" against the people, putting him on a dangerous collision course with his rival, Ashraf Ghani.
"We don't accept the results which were announced today and we consider this as a coup against people's votes," said Mujib Rahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah's campaign.
His rejection sets the stage for a possible bloody standoff between ethnic groups or even secession of parts of the fragile country, which is already deeply divided along tribal lines.
Abdullah has accused Karzai, also a Pashtun, of playing a role in the alleged rigging in Ghani's favor and says he would accept the vote only if he saw firm evidence that fraudulent votes had been thrown out and the final result was clean.
The Independent Election Commission announced on Monday that Ghani won the June 14 second round with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The tally might change when the final official numbers come out on July 22.
Abdullah's camp responded angrily, saying the result was invalid because it did not throw out all the fraudulent votes.
Thousands of Abdullah supporters gathered in the capital on Tuesday, demanding their leader form a parallel cabinet and unilaterally assert his own rule - a dangerous move that would further fracture the fragile country.
In a sharp warning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was no justification for violence or "extra-constitutional measures".
"I have noted reports of protests in Afghanistan and of suggestions of a 'parallel government' with the gravest concern," he said in a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
"Any action to take power by extra-legal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States and the international community." Afghanistan is heavily reliant on foreign donors to fund everything from building roads and paying school teachers to security. The United States pays the lion's share of all international aid.
Underscoring the magnitude of the crisis, Abdullah said Kerry would visit Kabul on Friday. Kerry arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue. The U.S.-China talks finish on Thursday.
The vote to pick a successor to Hamid Karzai was intended to mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history, a crucial step towards stability as NATO prepares to withdraw the bulk of its troops by the end of the year.
Western powers, particularly the United States, had hoped for a trouble-free process that would show that 12 years of their military involvement in Afghanistan were not in vain and contributed to the country's nation-building.
But the process has been fraught with accusations of cheating from the start.
Without a unifying leader accepted by all sides, Afghanistan could split into two or more fiefdoms along tribal fault lines, or even return to the bloody civil war of the 1990s.
Taliban insurgents remain a formidable security risk after vowing to disrupt the election process. On Monday, they killed a district police chief in the western city of Herat and attacked a check point in northern Afghanistan.
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