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Afghan women arrive to cast their vote during parliamentary elections at a polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Editorial: Fraud bedevil Afghan election

Despite pulling off a safer presidential election than expected, Afghanistan’s 28th polls are scrambling with legitimacy issue due to low turnout, in which the two front-runners already claimed victory before ballots are tallied and signaling they would not accept defeat. Election officials have hailed the recent election as the “most transparent” ever, following chaotic parliamentary elections in October 2018 and a fraud-marred presidential poll in 2014. However, the allegations of fraud have surged that even could impact the IEC’s plan to announce the long-awaited preliminary results on October 19. However, new rules introduced to combat fraud, but it would of no use, and the IEC awaits German engineers to make the biometric devices back on track as it stopped working. Only biometric votes are acceptable for the candidates, even they warned of crisis if non-biometric votes to be counted. Even the biometric process had their own problems such as unable to find voters’ names on voter lists, which is one example of system failure, or the names scrubbed from the lists deliberately. Despite so many problems, a new one popped up when the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) claimed of threats posed by some candidates and their supporters not to reveal evidences it holds about fraud cases in the September 28th presidential election. Naeim Ayoubzada, head of the body, said they have reliable evidences and documents proving fraud cases in the election. Due to security threat, Ayoubzada restrained to share the evidence with the media outlets. This is an absolute maddening. The security agencies, and foreign observers must take these threats seriously. In immediate move, the IEC should arrange a meet with TEFA officials, and divulge what is going on behind doors and utterly probe the threat clams. Anyone who threated TEFA must be introduced to the judicial organs in a bid to be served as good lesson to those who stand against election which is one of important pillar of democracy. The Afghan masses across the county have braved violence to cast their ballots—this is not a joke—anyone who threatened the process must be behind bars.

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