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"Ghost Polls" And The Stuffing Of Ballotboxes

02 September 2014

By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun

"The Ghost Polls of Afghanistan" an article on "harpers.org" tells the story of what election day looked like in the province of Wardak, and it is save to assume it was similar in the rest of Afghanistan outside the main cities.

When visiting a site of which the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan claimed would accommodate as many as 1,200 voters, they found that "... The building was shuttered, and the surrounding streets were vacant."

What follows next explains the high turnout:

"When Nasim had showed up earlier to look for voters, he said, he saw men stuffing ballots into boxes. "

This is a recurring story. Closed voting facilities and men stuffing ballot boxes.

In Chak and the neighboring district of Jaghatu "....only Eight of thirty-five polling centers were functioning on election day. (They) stuffed the votes by themselves for their favorite person."

The author of "The Ghost polls of Afghanistan" makes a valid point when he remarks that there would be two elections:

One would take place in Afghanistan's cities— which enjoy relative security, a vibrant press, international observers, and a developed political process, all of which helped hold the vote accountable. The other would unfold in the insecure rural areas, which are contested between the government, the Taliban, and militias. There, the election would be largely invisible to journalists and other observers.

And this would play in the hand of the ones trying to manipulate the outcome of the elections. With most foreign observers gone because of the violence, and with others immobile because security measures (probably specially meant to curtail the movements of the monitors) they had a free hand in the country side. With just a few journalists willing to travel to far flung area's and the rest ready to copy past the official story, they could manipulate the elections AND have a seemingly peaceful and fair election.

A monitor of the elections shows how they were confined to the main cities, seemingly to enable vote rigging and the stuffing of ballot boxes in the countryside:

Our four-member team had intended to travel to the neighboring province of Kapisa (and the districts of Shomali and Istalif) to observe rural polling stations, before heading back to the urban confines of Kabul. The plan, however, was undermined by news that Kabul was blocked-off (making it very difficult to re-enter the city). The team decided to remain in Kabul city and observe different stations in its various neighborhoods.

But even with most journalists confined to the capital and observers not able to visit most voting sites, the stories of elaborate voting scams and ballotbox stuffing started to trickle out. It even lead to the cancellation of all the votes cast at certain sites (250,000 in total).

The New York times reports:

Ahmed Zia proudly recalled how he voted in the Afghan presidential election on April 5, for the first time in his 18 years. Then he voted for the second time, a little later that day, casting an illegal additional ballot in the same box. "I was worried that my candidate wouldn't win," he said, "because of all the fraud and corruption."

Yes that is a way to reach the 7 million..

Run-up Elections

There will be a run-up election, with none of the potential Presidents having enough votes. Its to be seen how, during the peak of the fighting season, they want to conduct these elections. But whoever is going to win, it will be a continuation instead of a change, and change is something that both the candidates pomise. Abdullah Abdullah has been around for a long time, and notwithstanding all his clamor about corruption, he himself doesn't seem to be free of it himself

Ashraf Ghani a former World Bank economist joined hands with Dostum, probably the most notorious and bloodthirsty of all the Afghan warlords, and that is not a mean feat. So what kind of change they have in mind will hopefully stay a mystery.

Another thing these already flawed elections did, is opening a Pandora's box of ethnic tensions. Abdullah Abdullah the Tajik was once known as "the messenger of death" for his briefings in which he stated the daily tally of mainly pashtun deaths, caused by his Tajik faction, in Afghanistan's deadly civil war right after the Soviet withdrawal. So he chose a Pashtun as his running mate.

And Ghani, Abdullahs opponent, is part of the majority Pashtun ethnic faction himself, so he chose Dostum the Uzbek to boost his votes. Whatever happens during the following elections, the threat of a civil war on ethnic grounds is just around the corner.

The solution

The solution to the problems facing Afghanistan is the same solution that united the Afghans, ended the civil war, unarmed the warlords and brought back peace and justice. The former warlords and corrupted politicians will never bring positive change to Afghanistan. Real change will come only under the incorruptible Taliban.

One thing is sure, when the Taliban do return into power, the Idols stand no chance, whether its the corrupted politician version, the dancing and singing version or the one hewn out of rocks. An Afghanistan under the Taliban will be a Afghanistan without Idols.

 

 

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