Accessibility links

Afghan President Questions Vote Fraud Panel

<!-- IMAGE -->

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has expressed concern about the U.N.-backed panel investigating reports of fraud in August's presidential election.

Mr. Karzai told ABC television, in a phone interview that the vote was fair despite some reports of irregularities. The Afghan president leads the preliminary count from the election, marred by accusations of massive fraud in his favor.

One of two Afghan fraud investigators on the panel, Mustafa Barakzai, resigned Monday, saying foreigners had too much influence in key decisions.

President Karzai said the resignation casts doubt on the credibility of the panel, known as the Electoral Complaints Commission

Meanwhile, Japan has announced it will end its naval refueling mission that supports the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said Tuesday Tokyo would pull out its naval ships from the Indian Ocean operation when their current mandate expires in January.

Also Tuesday, NATO said Afghan and international forces have killed several suspected militants in three operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan since Monday. It said several militants were detained during searches in Zabul province, Kandahar province and Wardak province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.