Afghanistan Votes in Danger of Derailment

Election, Abdullah, Fraud, Elect, AfghanistanFighting over the election results in Afghanistan shows no signs of abating as campaign aides of Abdullah Abdullah, a presidential candidate, accused one of the vice presidents of Hamid Karzai’s government of fraud. Mr. Abdullah said this in the context of a runoff vote and added that the odds were stacked against him during the event.

Auditing of votes

This allegation came three weeks post John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, brokered deal to put in place an audit of July 7 vote. This audit was to be done under the shadow of international monitoring. However, it was suspended due to Eid-al-Fitr, a Muslim festival and campaign teams of both Mr. Abdullah, and Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah’s opponent, argued over the weekend about technicalities of invalidating fraudulent ballots.

The United Nations is helping the nation with the auditing process. A decision was made by Afghan Independent Election Commission on the criteria of dis-confirming votes. The commission tried to restart the audit on August 3, but was hampered in its efforts when Abdullah’s team refused to participate in it. His team made clear its reservations about the criteria. A number of phone calls to both the participants were made by Mr. Kerry on August 1, but the issue could not be resolved.

Controversial audio recording

The campaign manager of Mr. Abdullah, on August 3, released a particular audiotape which he claimed recorded the voice of Karim Khalili, an Afghan vice-president, instructing his followers to give their votes in favor of Mr. Ghani in the runoff. According to Tolo TV, a television news channel unconnected to the Afghanistan government, one of Mr. Khalili’s aides has described the recording as a fake one.

In the recording, the speaker, sounding similar to Mr. Khalili, but not independently verified, said that the election commission, international community, and president in totality supported presidency for Mr. Ghani. The speaker even suggested that the allies of Afghanistan will not bar the use of any conceivable means so that the desired result can be achieved.

The voice in the recording said that Afghanistan’s international allies have made a promise that the outcome of the election should go the way of the team, even if it requires the utilization of any opportunity that includes going against the electoral mechanisms. Baryalai Arsalai, the campaign manager of Mr. Abdullah, has said that the recording proved that Mr. Ghani has some fraudulent ideas in place to emerge victorious in the elections.

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