Fraud shadow over Afghan vote count


Fears of fraud are growing as election officials in Afghanistan continue to tally votes following a crucial parliamentary poll.

About 3.6 million votes have been counted so far in the exercise that began on Sunday, but the votes represent only a small fraction of the 11.4 million Afghans eligible to cast their votes.

Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the capital, Kabul, said there were “all sorts of allegations of fraud coming from across the country”.

“We’ve people who have been able to wash the ‘indelible’ ink off their fingers; we have voter registration cards – fake ones – which were definitely used, we are told, in some areas and we have been told of some polling stations where one candidate allowed only his supporters to go inside,” he said.

Fake voter cards flooded into Afghanistan in the run-up to the balloting, but election officials had said that poll workers were trained to spot them.

Afghan election observers said on Sunday they had serious concerns about the legitimacy of Saturday’s vote.

The Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (Fefa) said there were “serious concerns about the quality of elections”, given the insecurity and numerous complaints of fraud.

‘Significantly fraudulent’

Fefa deployed about 7,000 people around the country, making it the largest observer of the parliamentary vote.

Many international observer groups scaled back their operations from last year because of security concerns.

Peter Galbraith, the former UN deputy special representative for Afghanistan, who was sacked for having complained about fraud in last year’s presidential vote, said the elections were “significantly fraudulent”.

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