Afghanistan invalidates votes over fraud

The IEC may also push for the recount of ballots in other provinces after the September 18 ballot.

Kabul: Afghanistan`s election commission
has cancelled all votes cast at two polling stations in a
recent parliamentary poll after finding evidence of fraud in a
partial recount, an official said.

Cancelling the unspecified number of ballots is likely
to intensify concerns that the September 18 election could
descend into a fiasco of fraud similar to last year`s
presidential poll, which returned Hamid Karzai for a second

Noor Mohammad Noor, spokesman for the Independent
Election Commission (IEC), said ballots from the two polling
centres were invalidated after the IEC ordered a recount of
votes cast at several centres on suspicion of fraud.

"We have declared ballots of two polling centres in
(eastern) Khost province invalid because there was clear
evidence of fraud," he told AFP.

Most of the fraudulent ballots were in favour of one
candidate, Noor said, though he declined to say whom.

Each of the almost 6,000 polling centres opened on
election day had between 1,200 and 7,200 ballot papers.

"The IEC`s board of commissioners ordered the recount
of ballots in some polling stations because they were
suspicious," Noor said.

The poll was Afghanistan`s second parliamentary
election since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, with
final results expected on October 30.