Sunday, November 1, 2009
President Hamid Karzai's rival in the second round of the Afghan presidential election has announced in Kabul that he is withdrawing from the poll.
"I will not participate in the election," Dr Abdullah told supporters, saying his demands for ensuring a fraud-free election had not been met.
But he stopped short of calling for a boycott of next Saturday's vote.
Mr Karzai had rejected his demand that election officials who presided over the first round should be dismissed.
President Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omar said the withdrawal was "very unfortunate", but the election should go ahead as planned.
"The process has to complete itself, the people of Afghanistan have to be given the right to vote.
Earlier, the US said a pull-out would not invalidate the vote's legitimacy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in the United Arab Emirates: "We see that happen in our own country where, for whatever combination of reasons, one of the candidates decides not to go forward."
But the BBC's Andrew North, in Kabul, says Abdullah Abdullah's withdrawal means this is uncharted territory, and it is unclear what will happen next.
For the full story click here for the BBC web site