Sunday, April 13, 2014

Afghanistan Election Updates April 13 , 2014 -- Afghanistan's Abdullah leads in vote count Former foreign minister ahead of closest rival Ashraf Ghani in presidential election though run-off vote seems likely...... Taliban Spring Fighting Season underway .....

Daily Times 



Complaints of serious fraud in Afghan election exceed total in 2009

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Independent Election Complaints Commission said on Sunday more incidents of serious fraud were reported in an April presidential election than in the previous one in 2009, when more than a million suspect votes were thrown out.
The complaints body hinted it might need more time than expected to investigate all of the complaints though the volume would not affect the overall schedule for electing a leader. Final results are due on May 14.
“There is a possibility, in order to review the high number of complaints accurately, that we may expand the time frame for reviewing complaints in provinces for some days,” said IECC spokesman, Nader Mohseni.
Afghanistan’s allies praised the April 5 vote as a success because of the high turnout, estimated at 60 percent of 12 million eligible votes, and the failure of Taliban militants to stage high-profile attacks on the day.
But evidence of widespread fraud could undermine the legitimacy of an election meant to usher in Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power, as incumbent Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years in power, and as Western forces prepare to leave.
The three frontrunners have all complained of fraud.
To win, a candidate must secure more than 50 percent of valid ballots. Failing that, the top two candidates go into a run-off.
Partial results from a sample of ballots were expected on Saturday but they have been delayed to later on Sunday.
The IECC has recorded a total 870 incidents of fraud classed as “Priority A”, complaints considered serious enough to affect the outcome of the election, higher than the 815 incidents recorded in 2009.
Video clips of polling station workers and other people stuffing ballot boxes are circulating on the internet, but it remains unclear whether fraudulent votes might have benefited any one candidate over another.
In 2009, ballot-box stuffing was the most common type of fraud. The complaints commission has yet to disclose which type of suspected fraud was most prevalent this time.
Overall, the IECC has recorded a total 3,724 complaints, exceeding the total of 3,072 in 2009.
The number could rise as complaints reported in the provinces reach Kabul.
Urban participation in the election was unexpectedly high, but it is unclear to what extent rural voters were deterred by the Taliban, who condemned the vote, and what role state officials, including police, had in encouraging people to back a particular candidate. 






Al Jazeera....

Afghanistan's Abdullah leads in vote count

Former foreign minister ahead of closest rival Ashraf Ghani in presidential election though run-off vote seems likely.

Last updated: 13 Apr 2014 14:29
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Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister of Afghanistan, is leading his closest rival Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister, in the presidential election, the country's Independent Election Commission (IEC) has said.
The early results of the election indicate a run-off vote is likely.
"Today we announce the partial results of 26 provinces with 10 percent of votes counted, these include [provinces] in the north, south, east, west and Kabul," Yousuf Nuristani, the IEC chief, said on Sunday.
"With 500,000 votes from 26 provinces Dr Abdullah is leading with 41.9 percent; Dr Ashraf Ghani has 37.6 percent and is in second; and Zalmai Rassoul has 9.8 percent in third position."
From the perspective of one neighbourhood in Herat
A run-off election between the two leading candidates will become inevitable if no single candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote when the final results are announced in late May.
But Nuristani cautioned against reading too much into the early results.
"These results are changeable ... today one candidate might be leading but when we announce more results another candidate might be leading," he said.
Of the eight provinces for which results have not been announced, two are in the north [Badakhshan and Baghlan], two in the east [Nuristan and Paktika], central Daykundi, southern Ghazni and Wardak and western Ghor.
Abdullah, who was born to an ethnic Pashtun father and a Tajik mother, is more associated with the northern Tajiks.
Uphill struggle
The eventual winner will need to lead the fight against a resurgent Taliban as US-led combat troops prepare to leave at the end of the year, and also strengthen an economy reliant on declining aid money.
More than seven million people defied bad weather and Taliban threats of violence to vote in the April 5 first round of the election, earning praise from world leaders.
In the run-up to the vote. there were fears that a repeat of the extensive fraud which blighted Karzai's re-election in 2009 would undermine the winner's legitimacy at a difficult time for the country.
But the Election Complaints Commission announced on Sunday that there had been "less fraud" in the current poll.
"We have received 1892 complaints with evidence, 1382 through phone," Nader Mohseni, a spokesman said, adding that 870 of the complaints fell into the most serious category.
"We will review all the complaints. Based on the reviews and numbers provided by the observers there has been less fraud in this election compared to the previous one," he said.



http://tribune.com.pk/story/695086/abdullah-leads-ghani-in-first-partial-results-of-afghan-vote-officials/



Abdullah leads Ghani in first partial results of Afghan vote: officials

By AFP
Published: April 13, 2014
Afghan Presidential Candidate Abdullah Abdullah shows his inked finger as he casts his vote at a local polling station in Kabul on April 5, 2014. PHOTO: AFP
KABUL: Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah is leading his closest rival Ashraf Ghani in the Afghan presidential election, the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) said Sunday.
“Today we announce the partial results of 26 provinces with 10 percent of votes counted, these include (provinces) in the north, south, east, west and Kabul,” said Yousuf Nuristani, the IEC chief.
“With 500,000 votes from 26 provinces Dr Abdullah is leading with 41.9 percent; Dr Ashraf Ghani has 37.6 percent and is in second; and Zalmai Rassoul has 9.8 percent in third position.”
A run-off election between the two leading candidates will be triggered if no single candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote when the final results are announced in late May.
Of the eight provinces for which results have not been announced, two are in the north (Badakhshan and Baghlan), two in the east (Khost and Paktia), two in the south (Ghazni and Wardak), and one in the south-west (Ghor).
Abdullah, who was born to an ethnic Pashtun father and a Tajik mother, is more associated with the northern Tajiks.
More than seven million people defied bad weather and Taliban threats of violence to vote in Saturday’s first round of the election, earning praise from world leaders.
Ahead of the vote there were fears that a repeat of the massive fraud which blighted Karzai’s re-election in 2009 would undermine the winner’s legitimacy at a testing time for the war-torn country.






Al Jazeera.....



Afghan elections: Violence season comes early

Despite reports describing Afghanistan's elections as 'peaceful', casualties in the rural areas were widespread.

 Last updated: 12 Apr 2014 13:24
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Kabul, Afghanistan - The sound of the heart monitor beeped quickly and steadily as the doctors and nurses worked to clean out and stitch up the rest of the gaping wounds to Nadia's legs and to check on injuries to her abdomen they had stitched up a few days before. Pins were screwed in to stabilise her leg where shrapnel from a mortar had shattered the bones of the 35-year-old mother of five while she worked at her home in the remote village of Charkh in Afghanistan's restive Logar province.
In Depth
More coverage from Afghanistan's elections
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After finishing with Nadia, Dr. Abdul Shukur Sardar opened up Hajji Mohammad Gul and removed infected pieces of liver from a gunshot wound the man sustained while walking to the polls. His fourth out of six operations on Thursday was on Nadia's sister-in-law, who was also heavily wounded in the mortar attack on election day - a day many hailed as " peaceful ". Every day since the April 5 presidential vote, Sardar has been working to clean up the human wreckage left in the wake of Afghanistan's vote.
Although Kabul seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief when polls closed at the end of the day with no attack on the capital, the situation in the countryside was somewhat different. In general, security was much better than observers had anticipated, but dozens were still wounded and killed around the country in hundreds of attacks. "The main fighting, the real fighting, is going on in the rural areas," said Luca Radaelli, the medical coordinator at Kabul's Emergency Hospital. Contrary to many reports, for Nadia and others, the "historic" day was marked by violence and death.
The election was a dangerous thing - especially because the government doesn't control these places.
- Jamaluddin, a taxi driver in Charikar district of Parwan province
"She was brought in six hours after she was wounded after being taken to a clinic by the Afghan National Army," said Sardar, a surgeon since 2002 at the Emergency Surgical Center for War Victims in Kabul. "I don't know how she survived the journey. She and her sister-in-law were brought in at the same time, from the same house. Their husbands, two brothers, were wounded in the attack and four others were killed."
Stepping back from the operating table to take a break while nurses bandaged the massive hole in the woman's lower leg, Sardar said they had received 15 patients at its Kabul hospital. "This was more than normal," he said. "We had one policeman who was shot when there was an assault on his convoy when they were bringing ballot boxes from the provinces to Kabul to be counted. Insurgents stood in front of the convoy and shot at them. We had to amputate his finger because of a bullet wound. Two police were killed."
'The war is not finished'
Although the number of victims across Afghanistan on election day remains unclear at this point, Emergency's hospital in Kabul is one of the few places in this country of grinding, small-scale, low-grade violence where the human toll of the war is distinct, has a face, and is countable. "It was not unusual, but it was a very active day in terms of attacks around Afghanistan," said Radaelli. "The war is not finished. It is still going on," he said, adding, "even now for us it is clear that we need to be ready for the busy season coming."
Indeed, with campaigning and the vote held in late March and the first week of April, the busy season came early. Just on election day, Emergency's hospitals in Kabul and in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of violence-plagued Helmand province in the country's south, together admitted 32 patients. "Starting from May we admit between 200 and 300 people per month," said Radaelli, noting the uptick in violence usually seen when the weather warms up in the country. This means that the hospitals took in around three times more casualties on election day than they would normally see on a single day during the peak of the fighting season.
While it is still too early to get a specific number of attacks, Afghan security forces initially reported about 160 attacks across the country on election day, while the Taliban said they initiated over a thousand assaults. In the past days however, the Ministry of Defense has moved its original number up to 690 . Across seven provinces in the country's southeast, the Afghan Army faced 347 attacks by insurgents on election day, Stars and Stripes reported, compared to an average of 30 to 40 incidents per day the rest of the year. The Afghan public affairs officer for the army's 203 Corps later told Al Jazeera there had been 188 attacks.
A success?
Still, the government sees the vote as a success. "The election was more peaceful than 2009. Election day was more peaceful than a normal day in Afghanistan," said Sifatullah Sahaf Safi, media and information director at the Presidential Palace. "Insurgents tried their best to disturb the election, but Afghan security forces managed to disrupt the attacks."
But at Emergency, the experience of some who were wounded while voting seems to go against this narrative. "I decided to go vote. The polling station was at a mosque. Near the mosque there is a big tree. I think someone attached explosives to it near the line of people waiting to vote," said Jamaluddin, a taxi driver in Charikar district of Parwan province. "When it exploded, there were about eleven people injured. I was one of them," he said, moaning, and pointing to his legs. A fragment broke the femur in one leg and pierced an artery in the other.
"The election was a dangerous thing - especially because the government doesn't control these places. Next election, I won't go," he said. "There were a lot of police and military. But they are useless because they could not secure the elections." Given that Parwan is a relatively peaceful province just 60km north of Kabul, reports of violence in more dangerous areas becomes more believable. "We never had anything like this happen in our village. This is the first time. The security was fine where I live," he said. "I might go to another election, but only if there is good security."
With US and NATO forces set to withdraw a majority of their troops at the end of the year, prospects are not good. The UN's Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict said that the number of civilians killed or injured in Afghanistan increased by 14 percent in 2013, documenting 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 injured. The figures mark a seven percent increase in deaths and a 17 percent increase in injuries as compared to 2012.
"There is a constant increase in fighting in [the provinces] around Kabul. There was an intensive moment here one week before the election and on election day, but we expected that. But, generally speaking, around the country, from January to March, there was a constant increase in victims. According to our statistics, there was a 30 percent increase in victims compared to last year," said Emergency's Radaelli.




Fueling the smugglers markets.......




US Military Gear Smuggled en Masse Out of Afghanistan

Region Awash in Cheap US Military Equipment

by Jason Ditz, April 13, 2014
It’s not easy to get products made by US companies in Iran after years of sanctions and acrimony. It’s ridiculously easy, however, to get US military equipment there.
Another side effect of the US occupation of Afghanistan, and the ridiculous levels of corruption in that company, US military gear of all shapes and sizes, from clothes to tools to weapons, are available throughout the region, with one bazaar in southern Iranclaiming they could get virtually anything from a “supplier” in Afghanistan.
And they mean anything. While most of the goods for show in the bazaar were things like tool cases and clothing and shoes, one showed off night-vision equipment and another even claimed to be trying to sell a whole Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter.
During the many escalations in Afghanistan, the US sent so many shipping crates full of equipment to Afghanistan that it is expected to take years just to open and catalog it all. Most of it has just sat there in seemingly unopened containers.
But maybe not so unopened. Canada’s military, when they were pulling out, had the came problem on a smaller scale, and on opening the containers found many of them filled with sand and rocks. The gear was never accounted for.