Raw: Afghans Protest Alleged Election Fraud


Hundreds of Afghans protested in the capital on Saturday against alleged fraud in last week's presidential runoff. (June 21)



Kabul, Afghanistan - June 21, 2014

1. Various of rally to protest alleged election fraud


Hundreds of Afghans protested in the capital Kabul on Saturday against alleged fraud in last week's presidential runoff, forcing a closure of the airport road amid escalating tensions over what Western officials had hoped would be a smooth transfer of power.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who is running against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister, has accused electoral officials and others of trying to rig the June 14 vote against him.

Abdullah announced this week that he was severing ties with the Independent Election Commission and would refuse to recognise any results it releases.

He also suggested that the United Nations step in, an idea supported by President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

The IEC's official timetable says initial results are due on July 2.

Around a thousand Abdullah supporters gathered in Kabul to protest against the electoral commission, accusing it of fraud.

Hundreds of anti-riot police surrounded the demonstration, which was peaceful.

Nicholas Haysom, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political Affairs) for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told a news conference in Kabul that candidates' teams should "engage with each other and with the election management bodies hopefully in the task of building trust and confidence in the process."

In a separate news conference, Independent Elections Commission chief Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani said the votes were being investigated and definitely some would be declared invalid.

While the vote was relatively peaceful, the Taliban had warned people not to participate and carried out a handful of attacks in different parts of the country.

Afghanistan's next president is expected to sign a long-delayed security pact to allow nearly 10,000 US troops to remain in the country after most foreign forces withdraw by the end of the year.

Both candidates have promised to sign the pact, but the next president must be sworn in first.

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