Top UN official admits to fraud-tainted election in Afghanistan

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Kabul, Oct.12 (ANI): UN envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide has finally acknowledged that some of the votes cast in the August 20 presidential elections were fraudulent, but has denied claims by former deputy Peter Galbraith of an attempted cover-up

Addressing a news conference in Kabul, The Telegraph quoted Eide as saying that "widespread fraud" had marred Afghanistan's presidential election.

Eide, the head of the UN mission in Kabul, also said that the claims made by Galbraith, the American diplomat sacked earlier this month, had "affected the entire election process".

The report of a fraud investigation is due in the coming days, which will decide the final outcome of the voting that took place more than seven weeks ago.

Although the US, British, French and German ambassadors joined Eide for his attempt to set the record straight, none of them spoke and UN officials prevented journalists from asking them questions.

Eide said their presence was a "sign of international support" for his approach.

Galbraith had claimed that his former boss failed to stop polling stations from opening in areas that were too dangerous for monitors to visit.ide said that he had been backed in his decision keep as many polling stations open by the main western powers, who were anxious not to disenfranchise voters.

The Norwegian diplomat also defended himself against allegations that he banned his staff from handing over evidence collected on polling day that showed that actual voter turnout was far lower than the reported result.

Eide said that some of the information was not in a fit state to hand over to the relevant authorities.

He said that it would have been a "conflict of interest" for the UN to act as an observer in an election it helped to run.

Western diplomats are anxious to shore up support for the poll as the Election Complaints Commission, a watchdog led by non-Afghan staff, prepares to unveil the results of an investigation it ordered into electoral fraud.

Election staff looking for signs of irregularities has inspected around 10 percent of the 3,498 ballot boxes regarded as suspicious. (ANI)

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