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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs