U.S., U.N. urge probe into Afghanistan election

A man walks past a billboard with a photo of Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on September 6, 2009.
Increasingly credible allegations of vote fraud were the topic of conversation Monday night for a meeting between U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, U.N. officials and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, senior State Department officials said.

Eikenberry and the U.N. officials urged Karzai to allow Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission to thoroughly investigate vote fraud and determine which votes are accurate and then apply a very high standard to determine which votes are counted. Once that is determined, Election Commission officials would determine if a runoff is necessary. Eikenberry spoke to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about his meeting with Karzai later in the day, the officials said. One official called it a “shot across the bow to the Afghanistan government” to make sure the Election Commission is free to do its job free of interference. Karzai needs 50 percent of votes to avoid a runoff. Abdullah Abdullah, the main challenger to Karzai, has called the alleged vote rigging “state-engineered fraud.” He is demanding that the IEC stop announcing vote tallies from the provinces, and that the Electoral Complaints Commission inform Afghans about the status of its investigations. Watch a report on alleged election fraud

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By September, Afghanistan election officials said they had received nearly 2,500 complaints, with about 560 of them deemed serious enough to potentially affect the outcome of the race. The grievances include polling irregularities, voter intimidation and ballot stuffing. The complaints commission said that in order for election results to be certified, it must resolve the complaints it has received.