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Afghan poll under scrutiny as votes are counted

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Afghan poll under scrutiny as votes are counted


As Afghanistan awaits the results of its parliamentary election, opinions differ over whether it was a success.

Officials have hailed the poll despite low turnout, insurgent violence that killed at least 14 people and reports of irregularities.

Voters appeared hesitant amid a series of rocket attacks but 40 per cent defied the Taliban to cast their ballots.

“We did not expect the election would take place because of the enemy’s propaganda but it seems most people took part,” said Kabul resident Shafiqullah Khan.

“The election was free and fair and people ignored the Taliban threats and participated which is good,” added Mohammad Hassan Niazi who also lives in the capital.

But that glowing account is threatened by thousands of reported attempts at fraud that could undermine the poll and President Hamid Karzai. His own re-election last year was deeply flawed with a third of the votes cast for him thrown out as fake.

Karzai voted for a female Hindu candidate, according to palace officials, a choice that could rankle supporters in the consevative Muslim nation.

The first official results are due on October 8.

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