News / Asia

Abdullah Threatens to Withdraw From Afghan Political Process

Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 27, 2014.
Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 27, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

After boycotting a United Nations-supervised audit of all votes from June's disputed runoff, Afghan presidential hopeful Abdullah Abdullah has now threatened to pull out from the entire political process if his demands are not met in 24 hours.

Controversies surrounding Afghanistan’s presidential election are undermining hopes for a smooth political transition in the war-ravage nation.

The Afghan Independent Election Commission [IEC] and U.N. officials say that weeks of auditing ballot boxes from the presidential runoff is near completion.

Validation process

Last week when they began the long-awaited process of validating or invalidating suspicious boxes, Abdullah pulled his observers, saying his demands for tightening the criteria were not met.

At the request of U.N. officials, rival presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani also withdrew his observers to ensure the integrity of the internationally-monitored vote scrutiny and its outcome.

Watch related video report by VOA's Meredith Buel

Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Futurei
Meredith Buel
August 29, 2014 10:24 PM
Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Political negotiations between Ghani’s and Abdullah’s teams continued for devising a framework needed to establish a so-called “national unity government” after the audit results are announced.

But on Monday a spokesman for former foreign minister Abdullah said those talks have collapsed, blaming the other side for the failure.

Spokesman Muslim Sadaat said that despite public pledges, the Ghani campaign has gone back on its commitment to form a national unity government.

“They kept wasting the time and people are very tired and exhausted of the process," Saadat said.

"Therefore, we have set a deadline for tomorrow, which means in 24 hours if they did not come and agreed with our requests and demands both on the political and technical sides, we will withdraw from the process and any result coming out of this illegal, illegitimate process will not be acceptable for our team,” he said.

News conference

Sadaat said Abdullah will hold a news conference on Tuesday to explain “how and what went wrong with both the political and technical process.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered the deal in early August between Ghani and Abdullah to prevent a political crisis and form a national unity government.

Washington intervened because Abdullah, who topped the first round of presidential voting in April, rejected the June runoff preliminary results that put Ghani well ahead of him, alleging massive fraud.

His supporters threatened to form a parallel government in Kabul.

Observers such as Lisa Curtis at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center admitted that a lot of suspicions do surround the outcome of the runoff vote.

“We have to see some compromise with the situation and living up to the agreement that Secretary Kerry brokered between the two leaders, which was essentially that whatever the results were from the recount there would be a unity government in which the loser will basically serve as a chief executive," Curtis said.

"Both leaders need to see that if one of them tries to cheat the other one out of some kind of power in this unity government then both seem to lose,” she added.

The Ghani team has made few public comments about details of their political negotiations, though the presidential candidate has maintained he is ready to make compromises that do not undermine the Afghan constitution.

Karzai involvement

The U.S.-mediated deal is in tatters and deepened the uncertainty about when President Hamid Karzai can hand over power to a successor.

Karzai had earlier planned Tuesday as the inauguration day for the new president, in time for him to attend a NATO summit in Wales two days later. But that was pushed back after the United Nations said it would be able to complete the audit only by around Sept. 10.

Karzai is not going to quit power without the completion of the process, a spokesman said.

“The President is not considering the step down before the official transfer of power to the new Afghan President. It is unconstitutional to step down before officially transferring the power to his successor,” Aimal Faizi said in a statement.

Audit deadline

The United Nations hopes the audit of more than 8 million votes will be completed by September 10, paving the way for war-torn Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power.

A peaceful political transition is seen critical ahead of the planned withdrawal of the bulk of U.S.-led international forces by end of this year.

The prolonged political transition comes at a time of deep anxiety in Afghanistan as the United States, Kabul's biggest aid donor, and other NATO nations withdraw their troops after nearly 13 years of fighting Taliban insurgents.

Officials and diplomats fear a breakdown between the presidential candidates and the power-brokers who have a stake in the process could trigger conflict along ethnic lines, on top of the deadly insurgency.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
September 02, 2014 1:27 AM
Shame on you Dual Abdullah, every time when you know that you will lose you Boycott the process and you escaping, from the truth,

September 01, 2014 10:57 PM
Mr.Abdullah wants chair by force, this is sad story. Politicians Must think National interest first and then any thing else. He is power hungry man, every now and then he issued statement to boycott, which is foolish thing. He has to wait till the end and then accept public opinion with open heart. Do not create problems for poor Afghani. Afghans needs a Govt who care for public and not his personal bank account.

by: mrr a from: new york
September 01, 2014 2:05 PM
Who care? there will no change in Afghanistan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs