Four days after the presidential run-off election in Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah, who led the first-round results with 45% of the votes compared to 32% for Ashraf Ghani, his opponent in the Sunday second-round election, has accused the Electoral Commission of committing fraud in favor of his opponent, demanded an immediate halt to the vote-counting, and ordered his election workers to withdraw from the centers where the votes are being counted.
Abdullah witnessed massive fraud reportedly orchestrated by President Hamid Karzai in the last presidential election, in 2009, and withdrew from the second-round run-off against Karzai only under intense U.S. pressure to do so.
It appears that he is not willing to go quietly into the night again if he is robbed of a second election.
(1) Margherita Stancati (Kabul), “Afghan Candidate Boycotts Count of Votes; Abdullah, a Karzai Rival, Alleges Fraud in Presidential Runoff, Citing Outsize Turnout in Opponent’s Areas of Support,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2014 (Updated 7:40 p.m. ET)
(2) Arzam Ahmed and Matthew Rosenberg (Kabul and Pashir Valley), “Candidate’s Protest Clouds Afghan Vote-Counting for President,” New York Times, June 18, 2014.
(3) “Wahlen in Afghanistan: Favorit Abdullah verlangt Abbruch der Stimmenauszählung,” Der Spiegel, 18. Juni 2014 (17:11 Uhr).
Die Präsidentschaftswahl in Afghanistan droht zu scheitern. Vier Tage nach der Stichwahl fordert Kandidat Abdullah, die Auszählung der Stimmen zu stoppen – obwohl ihm die besseren Chancen zugesprochen werden.
(4) “AFGHANISTAN: Favorit Abdullah fordert Stopp der Stimmauszählung,” Die Zeit, 18. Juni 2014 (14:42 Uhr).
Der afghanische Präsidentschaftskandidat hat kein Vertrauen mehr in die Wahlbehörden. Bei der Stichwahl am Samstag sei massiv betrogen worden, sagte Abdullah.
(5) Le Monde.fr avec AFP, “Afghanistan: Abdullah, le favori de la présidentielle, demande la suspension du dépouillement,” 18 Juin 2014 (Mis à jour à 15h23).
Giving an idea of the scale of the alleged fraud, Stancati reported the following:
Yusuf Nuristani, chairman of the IEC , which organized the election and is counting the votes, said Saturday’s turnout was up from 6.6 million in the first round. While turnout was largely the same or lower in much of the country, the IEC’s initial tallies indicated a dramatic surgein the areas of eastern Afghanistan that are Mr. Ghani’s base.
In the eastern province of Khost, for example, initial IEC tallies showed that more than 400,000 voters cast ballots on Saturday, up from 113,000 in the first round.
According to the 2012-13 data compiled by Afghanistan’s central statistics office, Khost’s entire population is 549,000—and, given Afghanistan’s demographic structure, at least one-third of them are children.
In the nearby province of Paktika, 390,000 voters cast their ballots on Saturday, up from 180,000. The province’s population is 414,000.
The role of the United States, which has reportedly had numerous Afghan government officials on its CIA payroll, in addition to making deliveries of bags containing millions of dollars in cash to the presidential palace on a regular basis, is not clear.
For details of the election fraud in 2009, use the search box to select articles on Afghanistan. It is found in the upper right-hand corner of our home page, which you can reach by clicking on the title banner above
The dedication of the Obama administration to a transparent counting of the votes, against this backdrop, remains to be demonstrated.
Stay tuned for further developments. The stakes are extremely high.
The perceived legitimacy of this election may well have a decisive impact on whether the soldiers in the Afghan army stand and fight after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2015, or rather lay down their arms and run, like the Iraqi soldiers who fled Mosul this last week.
The Trenchant Observer