Poll crisis deepens as Khalili accused of fraud

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KABUL (Pajhwok): A senior member of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s team on Sunday accused Second Vice-President Mohammad Karim Khalili of orchestrating fraud in favour of his rival candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

Nasrullah Baryali Arsalai told reporters in Kabul that Khalili had assured his supporters that the government, President Karzai, the election commissions and international friends were in favor of Ghani, who had been promised victory in the election.

Arsalai also played an audio tape recording that said was Khalili encouraging his supporters to commit electoral fraud in favour of Ghani.

In the recording, Khalili allegedly told his supporters that there was no doubt in the victory of their team because President Hamid Karzai and the international community had similar view in supporting him and they all were committed to using all options for his victory in the presidential elections.”

However, Khalili rejected the claim in a tweet, “This tape is a fake.” His office denied the allegation and said would come up with a detailed answer later in the day.

But Arsalai said the tape was original and contained strong evidence against Khalili. He went on to call the election commission as a puppet organization.

Abdullah’s camp has urged the international community to devise its strategy about the Afghan elections in accordance with the tape they released.

Abdullah’s team had previously accused ex-chief secretary of the Election Commission, Ziaul Haq Amarkhel of siding with Ahmadzai and involvement in fraud, prompting Amarkhel to resign.

The new allegation comes as the Independent Election Commission resumed the vote audit process after a delay despite the absence of Abdullah’s team.

A day earlier, IEC chief Ahmad Nuristani said they would not accept further delay in recounting of the votes and would go ahead with the audit with or without the presence of Abdullah’s team.

The delays resulted from failure of Abdullah and Ghani to agree on some technicalities, such as how to disqualify votes.

Arsalai did not say where the speech was delivered, or how the recording was obtained. Its authenticity could not be independently verified.

Karzai’s office said it had no immediate comment and Khalili was due to make a public comment later on Sunday. Ghani’s spokesman Tahir Zaheer said: “The tape is fake.”

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