KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai extended his lead on Wednesday over challenger Abdullah Abdullah with around 17 percent of last week's votes counted, officials said.

An Independent Election Commission official told a news conference a running tally had Karzai with 43 percent of the vote compared with Abdullah's 34 percent. Karzai needs a simple majority of more than 50 percent to avoid a second round run-off.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by David Fox)