Hamid Karzai's three main rivals in Afghanistan's first direct presidential election have conceded defeat in last month's vote.

Yunus Qanooni, Mohammed Mohaqeq and Abdul Rashid Dostam said today (Thursday) that they will accept the results of the October 9 ballot.

Mr. Karzai will make an acceptance speech in the Afghan capital tonight (Thursday). He will be inaugurated in early December.

The Afghan president will face many challenges, including picking a new cabinet, removing regional warlords from power, and eradicating opium production. He also has promised to raise impoverished Afghans' living standards after a quarter-century of fighting.

Also Thursday, Mr. Karzai saluted President's Bush's victory in the U.S. presidential election, saying it will strengthen the bonds between successful partners in fighting terrorism.