Elections to the Afghanistan parliament have been postponed. The country was due to go to the polls in May; that date has now been moved four months until September.
The decision has been taken by the Afghan Independent Election Commision. It cited financial problems as one of the reasons.
In the glare of international publicity, last year’s presidential election was marred by fraud. A UN-backed probe discarded nearly a third of the votes cast for President Karzai as a fake.
This postponment has been applauded by the West, as it gives time to implement changes while it also removes a potential source of friction ahead of the international conference on the country’s future later this week.
The UN is holding tens of millions of euros earmarked for Afghan elections in an account; the money will not be released without reforms.
Security concerns are also behind the decision. The new date in September will give NATO-led forces more time to improve security in the south of the country.