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International community praises Afghan vote despite complaints about ballot shortage

The international community has widely praised Afghanistan for holding national elections that saw a heavy turnout despite complaints about a shortage of ballots and reports of fraud.

Millions of Afghans defied Taliban threats and crowded into mosques and schools being used as polling centers to vote Saturday for a new president and provincial councils. President Hamid Karzai is on his way out, constitutionally barred from a third team after leading the country since after the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

Ballot boxes have been loaded onto trucks and donkeys to be taken to Independent Election Commission facilities where they are being tallied. Officials have said partial results could be released as early as Sunday but caution it is likely to be at least a week before a complete picture emerges.