A U.S.-funded group that observed Afghanistan's presidential poll says
despite reports of serious fraud, the election has so far been
Richard Williamson from the International Republican
Institute told reporters in Kabul Friday that its observers were
present at 250 polling stations during Thursday's vote.
described the voting process as well organized and well run. But
Williamson also said there were serious problems, including poor
security, which he said affected voter turnout.
Williamson said the threat of Taliban violence was so great that "the merchants of fear have had some success."
irregularities cited by the group included reports of voter
registration cards being sold and problems with the indelible ink used
to prevent voters from casting more than one ballot.
said such reports of fraud warrant investigation. And he noted that
Afghan state media coverage of the elections heavily favored incumbent
President Hamid Karzai. Williamson described the abuse of state
resources as "alarming."
Another outside observer group, the
National Democratic Institute, is scheduled to give its assessment of
the election on Saturday.