Peshawar: Printers in this city near the
Afghan border say they have produced thousands of fake voter
registration cards at the request of Afghan politicians for
use in that country`s parliamentary elections on Saturday.
The cards, some shown to The Associated Press, add to
evidence that fraud could undermine the elections and further
destabilise the Western-backed government of President Hamid
A fraud-marred presidential election last year
threatened the credibility of the Afghan administration at
home and with the Western nations waging war on the country`s
Regulation of voting has been improved, but an influx
of fake cards raises the possibility of a person with multiple
voter cards voting many times and could still cause problems
in an insecure country where monitoring of polling stations
will likely be spotty.
Three printers in a dimly lit section of Peshawar`s
Storytellers` Bazaar told the AP that Afghan election
candidates had travelled to the walled heart of the ancient
city about an hour from the border and provided them with
samples of Afghan voter registration cards.
The printers said they had produced thousands of
cards, along with plastic sheaths to laminate them, for
roughly 20 rupees (23 cents) apiece.
The fakes shown to the AP resembled genuine Afghan
cards, but it was not clear if they would withstand close
Two of the printers spoke on condition of anonymity
because the activity is illegal. Tariq Khan, a 32-year-old
printer, told the AP that times were tough for printers in
Peshawar, and he had accepted the registration card requests
because it was more profitable than ordinary work.
"Several candidates from various parts of Afghanistan
have purchased these cards," he said. "Now it is their
headache how they use them."
Afghan election officials say they have instituted
safeguards that will keep falsified cards from being used.
These include marking voters` fingers with indelible ink,
searching voters to make sure they are not carrying multiple
cards and checking to make sure they are old enough to vote.