Rivals cry foul as early results put Abdullah ahead in Afghan capital

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By Mirwais Harooni and Maria Golovnina KABUL (Reuters) - Preliminary tallies from Afghanistan's presidential election showed former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah leading in parts of Kabul on Monday but, with ballot counting likely to last weeks, it was far too early to predict a winner. The two other frontrunners complained of fraud in the April 5 vote, which is meant to lead to the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history as incumbent Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years as head of state. The United States plans to withdraw most of its troops by the end of 2014, so the longer Afghanistan has to wait for the installation of a new leader, the bigger the risk of instability from a Taliban insurgency and from rivalry between factions in a country divided along ethnic and tribal faultlines. "We are trying to start the process as soon as possible," Noor Mohammad Noor, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said of the count.