Karzai rival issues conditions for Afghan runoff

<div data-recalc-dims=Abdullah Abdullah has ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Hamid Karzai.

” />
The main challenger to Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants the removal of the country’s election chief and 200 other staffers of the election commission to ensure a fair runoff election.

“My trust in becoming a candidate was not to be part of the same government, part of the same deteriorating situation,” Abdullah told CNN’s John King in an interview broadcast on Sunday’s “State of the Union.” “Mine was for a change in this country. Mine was for bringing hopes for the people of this country, and making the people of Afghanistan true participants in their politics, in the governance, in the developmental process, in the security situation and as a whole.” Abdullah and other charged massive fraud in the August 20 vote. The initial results gave Karzai the win, but a subsequent review by a U.N.-backed panel of election monitors threw out nearly one-third of Karzai’s votes because of “clear and convincing evidence of fraud.” The result left Karzai short of the 50 percent need to avoid a runoff. After a flurry of meetings with U.S. and U.N. officials, the Afghan president agreed to the November 7 vote. In a separate CNN interview broadcast Sunday on “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Karzai insisted that while there were “mistakes” and “some incidents of fraud” in the election, “the election as a whole was clean.” Abdullah rejected that notion. “To call this as clean elections, I think this, with all due respect to Mr. Karzai, it’s a bit of ignorance,” he told King, adding that “unfortunately, the government was involved.” The Taliban called for a boycott Saturday of Afghanistan’s upcoming presidential run-off election and repeated threats to disrupt the vote. “The Islamic Emirate is once again warning all the compatriots to not participate in that American fraud process, and like the first round, they have to listen to their consciences,” said a Taliban statement. It said the Taliban is ready to “collapse” the electoral process and any participant who gets hurt will only have themselves to blame.Journalist Matiullah Mati contributed to this report.