News / Asia

Afghan Lawmakers Deny Karzai More Influence on Election Watchdog

Afghan lawmakers have rejected a bid by President Hamid Karzai to tighten his control over a key election watchdog commission.

Lawmakers in parliament's lower house voted down a proposal to allow Mr. Karzai to appoint three of the five members of the Electoral Complaint Commission.  That commission played a key role in throwing out fraudulent ballots in Afghanistan's presidential election last year.  Most of the rejected ballots benefited Mr. Karzai.  

In recent months Mr. Karzai has sought greater control over the body, which has drawn criticism from Washington and other NATO allies.

The president earlier backed away from a plan to appoint all five commission members and agreed to allow two foreigners to serve.  In the last election, three of the five members were foreigners.

Meanwhile, authorities say at least 13 people have been killed in a bombing in southern Afghanistan.

The attack took place Wednesday in the Nahr-e-Sarraj district near Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.  NATO said its helicopters evacuated at least 40 of the wounded to hospitals.

Afghan officials say the bomb exploded as people gathered to receive free seeds as part of a program aimed at discouraging farmers from growing opium poppy.

A provincial government spokesman said earlier the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber,  but the Interior Ministry said the bomb was attached to a bicycle.

U.S.-led NATO troops and Afghan forces have been clearing Taliban insurgents in Helmand's Marjah region since February, and are getting ready to begin an offensive in neighboring Kandahar in the coming months.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff,  Admiral Mike Mullen, told reporters in Kabul that taking control of Kandahar is key to reversing the momentum of the Taliban.

He also said that U.S. officials have evidence that Iran is increasingly becoming a negative influence in Afghanistan.  Admiral Mullen said U.S. officials have evidence about a shipment of weapons from Iran to Kandahar.

The United States has frequently accused Iran of providing assistance to insurgents in Afghanistan, but Tehran is believed to play a greater role in the conflict in Iraq.  Iranian authorities have denied supporting any Afghan insurgent groups.  They contend the presence of foreign troops has a greater destabilizing effect on Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid