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Karzai, Abdullah Claim Lead In Vote

From the eager handicappers at the Associated Press:

People watch a traditional wrestling match in Herat, western Afghanistan August 21, 2009.

Karzai, Abdullah teams claim lead in Afghan vote

By Fisnik Abrashi And Heidi Vogt, Associated Press Writers

KABUL – President Hamid Karzai and top challenger Abdullah Abdullah positioned themselves Friday as the likely winner of Afghanistan’s presidential election, one day after millions of Afghans braved Taliban threats and intimidation to cast ballots.

Partial preliminary results won’t be made public before Tuesday, as Afghanistan and the dozens of countries with troops and aid organizations in the country wait to see who will lead the troubled nation for the next five years. The next president faces an agenda filled with crises: rising insurgent violence, rampant corruption and a huge narcotics trade.

Both sides said their candidate was ahead in the count. Officials with the country’s Independent Election Commission said it was too early for any campaign to claim itself the winner. Counting at individual polling sites has been completed, but ballots are now being sent to Kabul, election officials said.

Abdullah’s camp said it was investigating claims of fraud across southern provinces where Karzai would expect to do well.

"As far as my campaign is concerned, I am in the lead, and that’s despite the rigging which has taken place in some parts of the country," Abdullah told The Associated Press. He claimed that government officials interfered with ballot boxes, and in some places blocked monitors from inspecting boxes or their contents.

Abdullah said there "is a likelihood" that neither he nor Karzai got more than 50 percent of the vote, a circumstance that would trigger a run-off. Though election officials previously said preliminary results would be announced Saturday, Daoud Ali Najafi, the chief electoral officer, said Friday that results won’t be made public until Tuesday

A Times of London report Friday said election officials at a polling station near Kabul recorded 5,530 ballots in the first hour of voting Thursday, even though no voters were at the site when the Times’ reporter arrived at 8 a.m.

Election workers said the area was pro-Karzai and was controlled by a lawmaker who said he had already voted for Karzai, even though his finger wasn’t marked with indelible ink, a fraud prevention measure, the Times reported.

The International Republican Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that had about 30 election observers in Afghanistan, said the vote was at a "lower standard" than the 2004 and 2005 Afghan elections" but that "the process so far has been credible." …

It seems to us we have heard this tune before.

(Thanks to Canary for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 21st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Karzai, Abdullah Claim Lead In Vote”

  1. canary says:

    AP: Karzai, Abdullah teams claim wins in Afghan vote
    Associated Press Writers Fisnik Abrashi And Heidi Vogt Aug 21 2009

    KABUL – Campaign teams for President Hamid Karzai and top challenger Abdullah Abdullah each positioned themselves Friday as the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential election, one day after millions of Afghans braved dozens of militant attacks to cast ballots.

    Each campaign was clearly trying to win the early expectations game, and officials with the country’s Independent Election Commission said it was too early for any campaign to claim victory.

    “What Karzai’s office is claiming is not correct. The result is in front of you. You can see Abdullah is ahead with 62 percent and Karzai has 31 percent,” said Abdullah spokesman Sayyid Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki.

    Millions of Afghans defied threats to cast ballots, but turnout appeared weaker than the previous vote in 2004 because of violence, fear and disenchantment.

    At least 26 people were killed in election-related violence, fewer than had been feared. But in much of the Taliban’s southern strongholds, many people did not dare to vote, bolstering the hopes of Abdullah.

    Nevertheless, many Afghans did vote, some at great risk to their lives. Many waited until midday to see whether the Taliban would carry through with threats to attack polling stations.

    International officials had predicted an imperfect election — Afghanistan’s second-ever direct presidential vote — but expressed hope that Afghans would accept the outcome as legitimate, a key component of President Barack Obama’s strategy for the war.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090821/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan;_ylt=AscH8Jx8uZbwGsECKKVXLASs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTJzNGw1bXBnBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkwODIxL2FzX2FmZ2hhbmlzdGFuBGNwb3MDMwRwb3MDOQRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDa2FyemFpYWJkdWxs

    I mean to post earlier accounts than this white washed news. At least 70 polls closed do to violence. A school used as poll was blown up.
    And still they do not want to tell of U.S. soldiers. Heard one on the news and saw another article, where a family of an American soldier saying their son was killed.

    When Obama is proposing a ten year keep the peace b.s in the most violent country in the world, I think it’s important to keep up with the toll.
    So, much for transparency. Cover-up murders put simply.

  2. canary says:

    AP: 3 News: Afghans vote for president amid fears of attacks
    20-Aug 2009

    On the eve of the balloting, the US military announced the deaths of six more Americans –
    putting August on track to become the deadliest month for American forces since the war began in 2001.

    As the US shifted resources to the war in Iraq, Afghanistan fell into steep decline, marked by record opium poppy harvests, deepening government corruption and skyrocketing violence.

    presence in the Karzai inner circle has raised fears in Western capitals that the president will be unable to fulfil promises to fight corruption in a second term.

    Abdullah, son of a Pashtun father and a Tajik mother, is expected to win much of his votes in the Tajik north, where security is better and turnout likely to be bigger. Abdullah, an ophthalmologist who has railed against government corruption, was a member of the U.S.-backed alliance that overthrew the Taliban in 2001 and would be expected to maintain close ties with the West.

    The country has been rife with rumours of ballot stuffing, bogus registrations and trafficking in registration cards on behalf of the incumbent, allegations his campaign has denied.

    In the south.. intimidation – whispered threats, posted warnings and a run of headline-grabbing attacks in Kabul – aimed at frightening Afghans

    “..they have already warned us that they will cut off our fingers or kill us if we vote,” said Abdul Majid,.

    more than 130 polling stations will not open, officials said.

    These included 107 out of 242 polling stations in Helmand province, the focus of the most recent fighting, and 17 out of 271 in Kandahar,

    ..four election workers were killed Tuesday delivering materials to a polling station in north-eastern Badakhshan, a province generally considered safe.

    Two elections workers died in a separate incident the same day when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Kandahar province,..

    Fearing that violence may dampen turnout, the Foreign Ministry asked news organisations

    to avoid “broadcasting any incidence of violence” during voting hours “to ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people.”

    Afghan journalists said they would not comply, but the government said offending foreign journalists could be expelled.

    “I’m only afraid of God, not the Taliban,” said Haji Mohammad Rasool, 40, in Kandahar City. “Last night during dinner, I told my son and daughters to go and vote. This is our country. We should not live in fear.”

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Tensions-building-in-Afghanistan-ahead-of-election/tabid/417/articleID/117365/Default.aspx?ArticleID=117365

    Afgan journalists would not comply to the gag order threat. Freedom of the Press.

  3. beautyofreason says:

    Yes, it really is too bad because I read that the mid-twentieth century to the 1970s (a less Islamic time) is considered the “golden age” of Afghanistan. It’s hard to believe, but women used to be able to wear miniskirts in the capital without being threatened or killed, and there was an expanding class of educated, high skill workers. It’s kind of like what Iran was under the Shah, before the Islamic dictatorship took effect. Prior to the “revolution” people used to say that there were more miniskirts in Tehran than Paris (not that skin is a measure of equality, but it’s nice to be able to wear clothes without a threat of rape or murder!).

    From what radical Islam has done to Afghanistan today I would have assumed that it had been in the stone ages for a thousand years.

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    Just keep Franken the hell outta there!


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