Karzai Team Forged All 24K Ballots in 1 District: Charge

Afghan president's campaign allegedly detained tribal leader, closed polls

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2009 7:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tribal leaders in southern Afghanistan make the strongest allegations yet of ballot fraud, telling Dexter Filkins of the New York Times that in their district, "Hamid Karzai's people stuffed all the ballot boxes." Members of the Bariz tribe, who endorsed challenger Abdullah Abdullah, say aides to Karzai's brother—himself a hugely powerful provincial leader nicknamed "King of the South"—detained the district's governor on election day and closed all the polling places. They then shipped 23,900 ballots to Kabul, every single one a vote for Karzai.

"Not a single person in Shorabak District cast a ballot—not a single person," the governor says. Karzai's campaign has denied any fraud, and the Bariz tribe's claims are impossible to verify. But Filkins writes that the story sounds credible, since three men gave detailed testimony and agreed to be named and photographed. The governor is now in Kabul, lodging a complaint with other tribal elders, and he does not expect to return home. "I don’t think I am going to be governor much longer," he says.

An Afghan cleans a car in front of a poster of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah meets with the media in Kabul on Saturday Aug. 22, 2009. Both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah claimed to be ahead in early vote counting.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
Election workers tally the results of the presidential election at the Independent Election Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)
A worker unloads ballot boxes in Kabul. Accusations of ballot box stuffing and voter intimidation have streamed in to the Electoral Complaints Commission, most of them filed by Abdullah Abdullah.   (AP Photo/Farzana Wahidy)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai adjusts his cap as he attends ceremonies while opening the Jumhuriat Hospital in Kabul, Sunday Aug. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow

The border police were stuffing the ballots, hundreds of them, into the boxes. And there were other people who were counting the ballots and keeping the records. Dr. Abdullah did not receive a single vote. - Fazul Mohammed, an election official

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!