Locals: Karzai brother took ballot boxes

Sept. 2, 2009 at 8:12 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother shut down polling places in a district where the local leaders supported his opponent, the area's governor says.

Delaga Bariz, governor of the Shorabak district of the southern city of Kandahar, told Wednesday's Washington Post that the president's half brother Ahmed Wali -- the leader of the Kandahar provincial council and the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan -- closed all 45 of the district's polling places after tribal leaders threw their support to Karzai's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah.

Bariz alleged aides to Wali confiscated the ballot boxes and later stuffed them with 23,900 ballots, all marked for Karzai.

"Not a single person in Shorabak District cast a ballot -- not a single person," Bariz told the Post. "Mr. Karzai's people stuffed all the ballot boxes."

The newspaper said the allegations are the most serious of hundreds of complaints filed in Kabul over the conduct of the Aug. 20 election. Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission said Tuesday that the number of fraud complaints had reached 2,615.

The Post said the official election tally so far gives Karzai 46 percent of the vote to Abdullah's 33 percent with slightly less than half of the ballots counted.

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