News / Asia

    Kerry Seeks Solution to Afghan Vote Dispute

    Kerry in Kabul to Broker Political Resolutioni
    X
    Jeff Custer
    July 11, 2014 5:41 PM
    Top US diplomat country's future "hangs in the balance." VOA's Jeff Custer has more.
    Top US diplomat John Kerry (left) meets with Afghan officials, including outgoing President Hamid Karzai.
    Ayaz Gul

    Seeking a resolution to Afghanistan's bitter election dispute, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday held separate talks with rival Afghan presidential candidates and outgoing President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

    Discussions will continue for a second day in Kabul on Saturday, as allegations of ballot fraud rattle the country.

    Abdullah Abdullah and his political rival Ashraf Ghani both claim victory in the June 14 runoff to replace the outgoing president. Preliminary results show Abdullah trailing Ghani by about one million votes, but Abdullah rejects those results and has alleged widespread fraud and ballot-box stuffing. Abdullah's supporters have been urging him to establish his own government.

    The controversy has worried Afghanistan’s U.S.-led international backers as it threatens to revive deeply rooted ethnic Afghan rivalries and undermine a decade long U.S.-led international effort to politically and economically stabilize the country.

    Ballot review

    The U.N.'s two-week plan would review 3.5 million ballots from 8,050 polling stations, which is about 44 percent of all ballots cast.

    While Ghani's camp supports the proposal, Abdullah is asking for a more far-reaching review.

    U.S. officials say Kerry's mission is to convince Ghani and Abdullah to refrain from declaring victory until an audit of extensive vote fraud allegations is conducted.

    Kerry told reporters after a meeting with the top U.N. representative in Kabul that “we are in a very, very critical moment for Afghanistan”, saying “the future potential of the transition hangs in the balance” a lot of work needs to be done.

    In a meeting with Kerry, Ghani, a former World Bank official, said he agreed with U.S. calls for a thorough review of fraud allegations.

    "Our commitment is to ensure that the election process enjoys the integrity and the legitimacy that the people of Afghanistan and the world will believe," Ghani said. "Therefore we believe in the most intensive and extensive audit possible to restore faith."

    Ghani’s chief spokesman Daud Sultanzio told VOA that the presidential candidate’s meeting with Kerry was held in a "very positive and constructive environment," and that Ghani has accepted a U.N. proposal for an extensive audit of more than 8,000 polling stations, a demand Abdullah recently put forward. 

    “Discussions [involved] the election issues of the second round and also [United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] proposals, including triggers for audit," he said. "These audits will be conducting audits of 8,100 polling stations which would consist of 3.5 million votes. We have already indicated our acceptance of this proposal and I hope and we invite Dr. Abdullah and his team also to join us in accepting their own proposal so we can move the process ahead and remove these uncertainties in the country.”

    Abdullah spokesman Muslim Sadaat told VOA that Kerry held “only a preliminary” meeting with the presidential candidate without going into details. 

    “But we are willing to meet them again and talk about a solution for the electoral deadlock," he said. "John Kerry said that [he is] here in Afghanistan to find a solution for this process. Dr. Abdullah once again talked to the U.S. secretary of state regarding the process, problems and challenges that they face, problems and challenges that were inside the [Election and Electoral Complaints] Commissions.”

    Abdullah, a former foreign minister, alleges that President Karzai, the election commission and the Ghani campaign colluded to organize ballot box stuffing, charges that have been denied.

    Abdullah topped the first round of presidential elections in April but did not win more than 50 percent of the vote. Ghani is leading the runoff vote by about a million votes.

    Warning given

    Kerry already has warned Abdullah against using extra-legal means to grab power after his running mate talked about setting up a parallel government.

    The United States says it does not take sides in the election, but does support a credible transparent process.

    As Kerry arrived in Kabul, dozens of protestors blocked a road near the city's international airport, with one man calling for a "political settlement" between the candidates. Another said Afghanistan needed to resolve the election internally, without Kerry's help.

    Related video report by VOA's Meredith Buel, "Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisis":

    Kerry Holds Talks in Kabul About Afghan Political Crisisi
    X
    July 11, 2014 10:32 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held talks in Kabul with rival Afghan presidential candidates in an effort to solve a bitter dispute that could threaten the country’s future. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: A.M.E. from: Ontario, Canada
    July 11, 2014 9:00 AM
    Sorry to say this but I can not help but find it amusing:
    Wound up 'Uncle Sam' in his fine suit with makeup and all appears as though he was rolled out of a casket to show up at these foreign countries. When the meetings are done back in the casket he goes but not before someone rewinds him, closes the lid, and then it's off to the next stop.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.