Afghan prosecutor orders criminal probe into vote

Afghan attorney general slams IEC for releasing final results "prematurely".

Kabul: Afghanistan`s attorney general said he had opened a new criminal investigation into vote fraud and criticised the electoral commission for releasing final results "prematurely".

Mohammad Ishaq Alko, the country`s top prosecutor, told a local radio station, in comments broadcast on Thursday, that he had evidence that election workers were involved in fraud during the September 18 parliamentary vote.

Eight suspects had been detained, he said, without giving details.

"We have evidence that people`s votes were traded in Kabul and Dubai," Alko told Radio Azadi, a Kabul-based news station also known as Radio Free Europe.

Alko accused the Independent Election Commission (IEC) of "prematurely" releasing final results on Wednesday. The top prosecutor also criticised the UN mission in Kabul for endorsing the results.

The IEC on Wednesday released final results from the controversial election, except for the troubled province of Ghazni, where Afghanistan`s largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns, failed to win a single seat.

Analysts say President Hamid Karzai`s support in the new parliament appears to have weakened and his main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, claims that his loyalists won more than 90 seats in the 249-member chamber.

Investigations into massive fraud have already cancelled a quarter of the 5.6 million votes cast, following more than 5,000 complaints of fraud, and disqualified 24 people declared to have won under preliminary results.

Bureau Report