Afghanistan’s former foreign minister has called for a run-off in the presidential election to ensure the ballot is not tainted by fraud. Abdullah Abdullah has just over 28 per cent support with nearly all the votes counted. But he continues to allege massive ballot-rigging, particularly in the south, the heartland of his rival, President Hamid Karzai.
In some places every single vote cast went to Karzai, sometimes in suspiciously round figures like 500, or 450, and the electoral commission has annulled some results. Even so, Karzai appears to be across the finishing line, with 54,3 per cent of the vote. The problem for the West is that his re-election is mired in allegations of corruption, making it hard to support him politically. Abdullah hopes the West’s unease will persuade them to order a second round.