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US for probe into allegations of fraud in Afghan polls

Last Updated: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 10:43

Washington: The US has stressed on the need to thoroughly investigate all the allegations of fraud and bogus voting in the Afghan Presidential Elections before results of the August 20 polls are officially declared.
"We condemn fraud wherever it occurs, and we believe that these allegations need to be thoroughly investigated," the State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, told reporters at his daily press briefing.

The Obama administration, which is keenly awaiting the outcome of the August 20 elections, said this when the Electoral Complaint Commission (ECC) has begun the process of judging the information from samples and deciding on fraudulent ballots to deduct, adjudicating the complaints that individually came in after the polling.

The ECC then would pass their decisions to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which will then certify the results as a victory for a candidate or will determine the need for a second round runoff. This counting phase of the audit process began on October 5.

"It`s important that we allow the ECC and IEC the time they need to eliminate the fraud that they have discovered. The publication of those final and certified results will tell us whether there is a need for a second round," Kelly said.

As the IEC and ECC are going ahead with the process, Kelly said, "We need to give it the time, space, and support it needs to conduct the incredible review of allegations of fraud and irregularities in the election."

Asserting that these are serious allegations and they need to be seriously investigated, Kelly said, "This is a finite process, involving a finite number of ballots that have been identified as needing to be investigated."

Recognise that there is a time constraint because of the challenges involved in Afghanistan with the approaching winter, Kelly said, "I believe that schools close because of the weather some time in mid to late November and, of course, that`s an important factor as well. You need to have polling places and the schools are a very good place for that. So yes, we’re very aware of the time constraints and the Afghan authorities are aware of it, too."

Kelly argued that the US is emphasising again and again on the need for these allegations to be investigated because it critical that the government be recognised as credible and legitimate. "So that`s why we are so interested in the process and why we are so supportive of the process," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 9, 2009 - 10:43
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