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

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs