The top United Nations official in Afghanistan has acknowledged there
was significant and widespread fraud in the controversial presidential
election held in August.
Kai Eide spoke to reporters in Kabul Sunday to rebut accusations by his
former deputy, Peter Galbraith, that he had suppressed evidence of
election fraud. The Norwegian diplomat complained that allegations by
Galbraith, who uis an American, undermined confidence in the Afghan
election process and weakened the U.N. mission's credibility.
Despite Eide's comments about the extent of fraud in the Afghan
election, he said he does not know how many ballots were illegitimate.
European monitors have said that up to 30 percent of the vote could be
The United Nations is supporting an investigation by Afghanistan's
Electoral Complaints Commission, which is due to report this week on
its examination of suspicious ballots.
The commission could either confirm President Hamid Karzai as the
victor, or - if a large share of Karzai's votes are found to be
fraudulent - order a run-off between the president and his leading
challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
Based on preliminary results reported earlier, Mr. Karzai is said to be
leading with 54 percent of the vote, well ahead of Mr. Abdullah, at 28
Galbraith has said data gathered by U.N. workers showed that most of
the illegitimate ballots that wound up being counted were marked in
favor of Mr. Karzai, and he accused Eide of favoritism toward the
After the American's dispute with Eide became public, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fired Galbraith (on September 30).
Galbraith said he was astonished that the United Nations would dismiss
an official because he was concerned about fraud in an election
supported and funded by the U.N., but that he could not be complicit in
a cover-up of fraud.