Afghan election recount begins
Monday, 05 October 2009
Election workers began recounting ballots from the disputed August 20 presidential election Monday.
Election workers in Afghanistan have begun recounting ballots of the disputed votes in the August presidential election.
A commission backed by the United Nations called for a partial recount of the votes from about 10 percent of the disputed polling stations.
The move is expected to end weeks of political tension caused by allegations of fraud. Last month's results showed the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai, as the winner with 54.6 percent of the votes.
The coming to power of an effective government in Kabul is considered central to tackling the growing violence.
There are now around 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan but the Taliban have been stepping up their attacks since they were driven from power in 2001.
In the latest string of violent attacks on Saturday, eight US troops were killed when their outpost in Nuristan province came under Taliban fire.
Following the deadly attack, US and Afghan forces sealed off an area where the assailants responsible for the incident were believed to be hiding, Afghan officials said Monday.
Abdullah questions UN impartiality in Afghan vote
Saturday, 03 October 2009
Afghanistan's former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah (L) and incumbent President Hamid Karzai.
Abdullah Abdullah, the main challenger to incumbent President Hamid Karzai, has raised serious doubts about the neutrality of the UN since the August poll in Afghanistan.
During a Saturday news conference in Kabul, the former foreign minister sharply criticized the head of the United Nations' mission in Afghanistan.
Abdullah emphasized that Kai Eide, the UN special envoy to the country, had worked against uncovering the full extent of fraud in the polls, which were also marred by the Taliban intimidation.
He also suggested that a full internal inquiry was needed into Eide's conduct, saying that the alleged fraud had "greatly damaged" the reputation of the UN in Afghanistan.
"... But as far as I am concerned, in my mind I have no doubt that it has seriously damaged the UN's credibility in Afghanistan."
The sharp criticism comes after the dismissal of a key deputy to Eide. Deputy head of the UN mission in Afghanistan Peter Galbraith was sacked over a dispute with his superior about how to handle allegations of fraud.
Galbraith had requested the annulment of the votes in 1,000 of the 25,000 polling stations and a recount of ballots at 5,000 more. Eide, however, had called for the recount of 1,000 polling stations.
The UN mission alongside the Kabul government was responsible for the election's smooth running in the war-ravaged country.
The final and uncertified count of votes indicated a Karzai victory in the Afghan presidential election. The results showed Karzai gaining more than 54.6 percent of the vote and rival Abdullah Abdullah, who managed to win less than 27.8 percent.
The election has been overshadowed by allegations of widespread fraud. Should fraud investigations cause Karzai's figure to drop below 50 percent, he would have to go and compete against Abdullah in a second round of elections.
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