News / Asia

Afghan Election Audit Proceeds Without Candidates' Observers

Afghan election commission workers sort ballots for an audit of the presidential run-off votes in front of international observers at an election commission office in Kabul, Aug. 27, 2014.
Afghan election commission workers sort ballots for an audit of the presidential run-off votes in front of international observers at an election commission office in Kabul, Aug. 27, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

A United Nations-supervised anti-fraud audit of all 8.1 million ballots from Afghanistan’s June 14 presidential runoff has resumed following a brief suspension Wednesday, when the rival candidates withdrew their observers from the process.

The world body says it does not anticipate significant disruptions through the rest of the audit, intended to support the war-ravaged country’s first democratic transition of power. The visiting chief of the U.N.’s Kabul mission met in Islamabad with Pakistani leaders to seek their support for the Afghan political transition.  
 
The large-scale audit of the hotly disputed runoff vote is part of a U.S.-brokered deal that binds both Afghan presidential rivals, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, to accept the final outcome and work toward forming a government of national unity.
 
More than 70 percent of nearly 23,000 ballot boxes have been audited with observers from the candidates' teams taking part, and independent foreign and local observers on close watch.  But the vote scrutiny, which began six weeks ago at the Afghan election commission’s headquarters in Kabul, has been hampered repeatedly due to disputes and walkouts by Ghani's and Abdullah's representatives.  
 
The latest disruption occurred Wednesday when Abdullah pulled his observers from the audit. His team members alleged their demands to broaden the criteria to identify fraud were not entertained by U.N. supervisors. Hours later, Ghani announced he too was disengaging his team from the process.
 
U.N. Mission Deputy Chief Nicholas Haysom told reporters later in the day the U.N. seriously considers all issues raised by either of the candidates and is determined to work closely with them to conclude the audit expeditiously.  
 
“In light of Dr. Abdullah’s team’s decision not to participate further in the audit and in the interest of protecting the integrity of the audit process, today we requested the team of Dr. Ghani to review whether they should participate actively in the process. Dr. Ghani’s team have agreed to withdraw from active participation in the audit process. And from the U.N.’s prospective, we have assured both parties that we have and will continue to be impartial, uniform and consistent in our interventions," said Haysom.
 
He says the U.N. asked Ghani’s team to pull its observers to ensure the audit can be seen to be even-handed by all Afghans.
 
“So, the audit will now proceed to its conclusion without the direct physical engagement of representatives of either of the presidential candidates. There was a pause this morning but the audit has resumed this afternoon and we do not anticipate any significant disruption through the process going forward…We continue to urge the return of both candidates to full participation in the process and we stand ready to address their concerns whether they return or not," he said.
 
While both Ghani and Abdullah have given assurances to U.N. and U.S. mediators they will cooperate politically to steer Afghanistan out of the current crisis, analysts say disputes during the audit process appear to be aimed at putting pressure to seek more concessions from the other side before agreeing to set up a so-called national unity government.
 
But the election crisis, many believe, is hurting economic and security gains Afghanistan has made with the support of the global community. Critics say the deepening political crisis is likely to benefit the Taliban insurgency.
 
Meanwhile, representatives from both sides say talks on a political framework ahead of forming the government are underway between Ghani and Abdullah.  But some analysts question the sincerity of these talks despite public pledges by both candidates to work together.
 
Naeem Ayubzada is among the hundreds of independent Afghan experts taking part in the audit of the runoff vote. He says civil society groups are urging both candidates to quickly resolve the political turmoil to end the uncertainty gripping their war-torn country.
 
“The only option for Afghanistan is to continue and finish the audit process properly based on the current laws and regulations. But still, you know, the candidates unfortunately challenge the process because it seems they did not come up with a real political agreement and they know the results will not guarantee their impression in the process," said Ayubzada.
 
Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been urging both candidates to cooperate with election authorities to conclude the audit so his successor is sworn and is able to represent the country at a NATO meeting next week that will discuss post-2014 financial and military plans for Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the U.N. secretary-general's representative to Kabul, Juan Kubis, held talks with leaders in neighboring Pakistan. Foreign ministry officials in Islamabad say Kubis sought support of all the neighbors of Afghanistan for the political transition in the strife-torn county.  Pakistan, they say, reiterated its resolve in helping those efforts.

 

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (2)
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
August 27, 2014 8:21 AM
The US invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban government that supported Al-Qaeda and their training bases in Afghanistan after 09-11-2001 and change the government, and George W. Bush did that... (but after the last (5) years)... with US troops hiding behind (30) foot high blast-proof walls, the US is finally withdrawing from Afghanistan with the bitter taste of failure in their mouths, (the failure to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban), when hiding behind those (30) foot high blast-proof walls for the last (5) years?

In Response

by: Ben from: USA
August 27, 2014 10:02 AM
Are A-10 and Blackhawk helicopter pilots hiding? How about special forces troops? A NATO convoy was attacked in Kabul about two weeks ago. Were they hiding? It's normal for our forces to take a back seat to the Afghans at this point in the counter-insurgency. If we didn't, the Afghans would never take the lead.

As for the article: somebody has to lose, Abdullah. Be a man and accept that you lost and try again in the next election cycle. Though with you handling this like such a child, I don't expect many people to vote for you...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid