Karzai Stole Afghanistan Election: Rival
With early vote count due Tuesday, Abdullah alleges fraud
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2009 1:13 PM CDT
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday Aug. 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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(Newser) – Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai’s strongest political rival in the Afghan presidential race, is charging his opponent with engineering widespread voter fraud in the southern and eastern regions, the Guardian reports. A watchdog group controlled by international officials, which says the official election commission is controlled by Karzai supporters, has received 225 complaints of voter intimidation and outright fraud, some 25 of which could affect the outcome of the election. Early election results are due on Tuesday.

Abdullah described one case in which the head of border police in Kandahar province moved ballot boxes into his house, then only allowed Karzai supporters in. Mirwais Yasini, another candidate, has produced bags of ballots he claimed were cast for him but discarded by election workers. Karzai’s campaign team claims that he won more than 50% of the vote—a result that would make a run-off unnecessary, but which a UN official said would have “no real legitimacy.”