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By Lesley Wroughton KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Afghanistan on Friday its transition to a self-reliant state hung in the balance after a contested presidential election, urging officials to focus on investigating all fraud allegations to prove its legitimacy. The deadlock over the vote has quashed hopes for a smooth transition of power in Afghanistan, a concern for Washington as most U.S.-led forces withdraw from the nation this year. Kerry rushed to Kabul from meetings in China on Friday in a hastily arranged visit for talks with the two presidential contenders, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, as well as incumbent Hamid Karzai and other senior officials. "The election legitimacy hangs in the balance, the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance, so we have a lot to do," Kerry said after a meeting with U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis.
By Saud Mehsud and Katharine Houreld WAZIRISTAN Pakistan (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban have urged Muslims to avoid extremism and remain united, a message apparently aimed at the Islamic State (ISIL), which recently declared an Islamic caliphate in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. The Arabic message, posted on the Afghan Taliban's website on Thursday and translated by SITE intelligence group, addressed fighters in Iraq and Syria whose announcement of a caliphate last month poses a direct challenge to al Qaeda's dominance of global Islamist militancy.