NY Times: New Accusation of Ballot Fraud in Afghanistan

Tribal leaders in southern Afghanistan have accused police of shutting down polling sites and stuffing election boxes with thousands of ballots marked for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The New York Times on its Web site Tuesday night quoted the governor of Shorbak district, Delaga Bariz, saying that Bariz tribesman in the area had met one week before the election and decided to endorse Abdullah Abdullah.

But, the governor said, aides to Mr. Karzai’s brother, the leader of the Kandahar provincial council, Ahmed Wali, detained him and shut down all of the district’s 45 polling sites on election day.  

He and other tribal leaders claim that almost 24,000 ballots where shipped to Kabul from Shorback district, despite no one being allowed to vote.  And they charge that every ballot was for Mr. Karzai.

The accusations are among the most serious that have been publicized against Mr. Karzai and the electoral system, which faces fraud complaints from across the country.  Mr. Karzai and his aides deny any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said Tuesday an American soldier died after being wounded in a bomb attack Monday in southern Afghanistan.

Two other U.S. troops were killed Monday, ending the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the Taliban-led government was ousted in 2001.

At least 47 U.S. service members were killed in August.  Forty-four were killed the previous month.

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