The commission investigating reports of voter fraud in Afghanistan's
presidential election has thrown out votes from 83 polling stations.
U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission Thursday ordered to exclude
ballots from 51 polling sites in Kandahar, 27 in Ghazni and five in
Paktika. Those areas showed strong support for incumbent President
The ECC did not say how many ballots were nullified.
a statement explaining its decision, the ECC cited "clear and
convincing evidence of fraud", including unfolded ballots, uniformity
of markings and lists of voters with fictitious card numbers.
The commission has also ordered recounts at some polling locations.
President Hamid Karzai had earlier welcomed partial returns from the
country's controversial August 20 presidential elections, which gave
him 54 percent of the vote.
But his main challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who has 28 percent of the vote, disputed those results.
His campaign said the results had been tallied in violation of election laws.
U.S. election monitoring group called the National Democratic Institute
expressed "deep concern" Thursday over the high number of fraud
complaints that have been filed.
It said it found grounds for
concern in a number of provinces, including Nuristan, Paktia, Helmand
and Badghis. In these cases, many polling stations reported voter
turnout that was far higher than analysts had estimated, prompting
concerns about the poll's credibility.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has called for patience as the electoral process continues.
The Obama administration has said that a "legitimate" election process is vital to the future of U.S.-Afghan relations.
credible election is also deemed crucial to the reputation of the
international mission to fight the Taliban, and preserve Afghanistan's
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.