NEWPORT, Wales, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's rival presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, sent a message to NATO leaders saying that they will do their utmost to reach a political agreement that would end a crisis over disputed elections.
"I can confirm that we received a message from the two presidential candidates indicating that they will do all they can to reach a political agreement and if that materialises we would warmly welcome it," Rasmussen told a news conference at a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday.
"Afghanistan deserves a rapid completion of the electoral process with an outcome that can be accepted by the Afghan people," he said.
NATO needs a new Afghan president in place to sign an agreement on continued cooperation. Otherwise is likely to have to withdraw all its forces from the country this year and abandon plans for a training mission for the Afghan armed forces as they battle Taliban insurgents.
Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Paul Taylor