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Afghan Presidential Candidate Alleges Vote Fraud

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. Abdullah has accused his opponent of election fraud.
Massoud Hossaini

Although the results of Afghanistan's elections aren't due until next month, already one of the two presidential candidates is calling foul.

Abdullah Abdullah says the vote counting must stop immediately because the head electoral official has allowed fraud and must be suspended.

He says election monitors from his campaign witnessed massive ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities that could throw the June 14 election to his opponent, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

Abdullah said the extremely high vote counts reported in some areas of the country are "not in proportion with the population of that area.

"We announce that we have no confidence or trust in the election bodies," Abdullah said at a news conference. "The counting process should stop immediately and if that continues, it will have no legitimacy."

As The Associated Press notes: "The discord set the stage for a showdown that could threaten Afghanistan's first peaceful transfer of authority."

NPR's Sean Carberry reports from Kabul that Abdullah Ahmadzai, the previous head of the elections commission, says Abdullah can't stop the counting process, but the commission can't ignore his allegations.

"Time is of the essence," says Ahmadzai.

The longer the commission takes to respond, Ahmadzai says, the more it risks the credibility of the elections process.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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