Eide acknowledges fraud in Afghan vote

Oct. 12, 2009 at 6:29 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Fraud in the Aug. 20 presidential elections in Afghanistan was not limited to the south and southeast provinces, the top U.N. envoy said.

Afghanistan held parliamentary and presidential elections Aug. 20 to the praise of the international community. But allegations of fraud surfaced almost immediately, prompting a sweeping investigation by Afghan elections monitors.

The fraud allegations reached the highest levels of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, with former deputy envoy Peter Galbraith accusing his boss, Kai Eide, of turning a blind eye to a series of discrepancies during the vote preparation.

Eide and other top U.N. officials have come forward with a series of statements challenging Galbraith's allegations. In his latest, Eide lays out a series of counterarguments to Galbraith's claims, though he admits there was a certain level of fraud in the presidential vote.

"It is true that in a number of stations that opened in the south and southeast there was significant fraud," he said. "But it's not only there. The extent of that fraud is now being determined."

Eide's comments were followed by a message of support by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said the alliance fully supports UNAMA and its role in the elections.

"The alliance, and I personally, also have full confidence in the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Kai Eide, and commend him for the effort and commitment he has shown to helping Afghanistan build a better future," he added.

The latest developments came as Mawlawi Mohammad Mustafa Barakzai, an Afghan election official, abruptly resigned from his post.

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