Sunday, August 24, 2014

In Afghan Election, Signs of Systemic Fraud Cast Doubt on Many Votes

By CARLOTTA GALL, NYT
AUG. 23, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan — When the campaign team led by Manawar Shah came under threat on the day of the Afghan presidential runoff, it was not from the Taliban, he said, but from the people who were supposed to be keeping order: an alliance of government officials, security forces and supporters of the candidate Ashraf Ghani.

Beaten and prevented from using their video equipment and cellphones, Mr. Shah’s team members, working for the candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Khost Province, spent June 14 watching fraud but unable to document it. In one polling center, Mr. Shah said, they saw just 500 voters and election officials casting multiple ballots, for a total of 10,531 votes.

That episode and others like it led Mr. Abdullah to level accusations of a conspiracy by Mr. Ghani, election officials and President Hamid Karzai to rig the vote, plunging the country into crisis and creating a new threat of factional violence. After years of Western aid spent building it, the Afghan state is suddenly at risk of collapsing just as American troops are leaving.

(More here.)

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