Afghan election commission accused of fraud

Kabul, June 18 (IANS) Leading Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah Wednesday accused the Election Commission of involvement in fraud and demanded its suspension.

"In many polling stations, the ballot boxes had been filled in the absence of our observers, in some places our observers had not been allowed to monitor and many more cases of irregularities have been detected and documented," Abdullah said at a press conference here.

"We have lost the trust in the Election Commission and that is why I am demanding its suspension and from now on our team would have no engagement with the Election Commission," Xinhua quoted him as saying.

"Vote counting should be stopped immediately," Abdullah said, adding that "if the Election Commission continues the process of vote counting, it has no legitimacy".

Abdullah, who secured 45 percent of the votes against his rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who secured 31.6 percent in the April 5 presidential election, also called upon his team's monitors to leave provinces and come to Kabul.

Abdullah also accused Ziaul Haq Omarkhil, who heads the Election Commission secretariat, of involvement in fraud and demanded his immediate suspension.

However, Omarkhil has rejected the allegation as baseless.