Tags: Afghanistan | election | unrest

Protests in Kabul Deepen Afghan Election Impasse

Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 07:33 AM

Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah marched through Kabul Saturday to protest against alleged fraud in last week's election, escalating tensions in a political stalemate threatening the country's first democratic transfer of power.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in the city for the largely peaceful demonstration but the United Nations warned that any street violence "could lead to a spiral of instability".

Abdullah has boycotted the election vote count, pitching Afghanistan into a crisis as NATO combat troops withdraw from a 13-year war against Taliban insurgents.

The former foreign minister accused his poll rival Ashraf Ghani, outgoing President Hamid Karzai and election authorities of all committing fraud to deny him victory.

Demonstrators took to the streets shouting slogans and carrying banners that read "Fraudsters should be put on trial" and "We will defend our vote to the last drop of our blood".

"The election authorities are not impartial," Asar Hakimi, one protest organiser, told AFP.

"All the achievements of the past 12 years are at stake. We will continue protesting if the government and the election commission continue their hostility."

He said the "anti-fraud" rallies were not organized by Abdullah's campaign, but the crowds appeared to be made up of Abdullah supporters.

Reports of the ongoing vote count suggest that Ghani has made a surprise comeback after finishing behind Abdullah in the first-round election on April 5.

Abdullah said he now considers the election authorities "illegitimate" and has alleged that in several provinces there were more votes than eligible voters.

 

 

The United Nations, which Abdullah and Karzai have asked to help solve the deadlock, on Saturday urged Afghan security forces to "act with full neutrality and professionalism at this difficult time" and described some social media activity as "disturbing".

"We would call upon supporters of the candidates to refrain from inflammatory statements, or statements that promote divisive ethnic mobilisation," UN mission deputy chief Nicholas Haysom told reporters.

The threat of ethnic unrest is a grim prospect for Afghanistan, where tribal loyalties are still fierce after the 1992-1996 civil war.


© AFP 2017

 
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Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah marched through Kabul Saturday to protest against alleged fraud in last week's election, escalating tensions in a political stalemate threatening the country's first democratic transfer of power.
Afghanistan, election, unrest
340
2014-33-21
Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 07:33 AM
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