The second batch of returns from Afghanistan's presidential elections
shows that President Hamid Karzai has widened his lead over the top
challenger, but remains short of more than 50 percent to avoid a
The country's Independent Election Commission said Wednesday that based
on 17 percent of votes counted, Mr. Karzai has 45 percent, while his
nearest rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, has 35
Election officials cautioned the vote totals released are still too
small to predict the final outcome, which is already tainted by
allegations of widespread fraud.
Mr. Abdullah alleges there were millions of fake ballots cast last
Thursday, and claims he has videotape and documents to prove it. He has
urged his followers to remain calm and not resort to violence.
Final results are not due until September 3, at the earliest.
Six presidential candidates have warned that fraud claims threaten to
undermine the election and could trigger more violence in the war-torn
One of the disgruntled contenders (former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani) alleged
gunmen told people to vote for Mr. Abdullah, and that Afghan officials
stuffed ballot boxes with votes favoring President Karzai.
In the back drop of the Presidential as well as Provincial elections in Afghanistan our distinguished guests have analyzed the future of democracy in Afghanistan. Our panelists were Dr Kamal Hossain , the former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh and UN Rappateur for Human Rights in Afghanistan and Professor Zillur Rahman Khan , Professor Emeritus from Wisconsin University in the US.