In an interview today in the major French newspaper Le Figaro, Afghan President Hamid Karzai defended himself from the mounting evidence of widespread fraud in last month’s election and claimed that the United States was secretly behind the accusations.
Karzai says the US dislikes him because of his independent streak and claims that they are attempting to punish him for refusing to be their puppet. Karzai made similar claims earlier this year regarding media reports about his brother Wali’s role in the nation’s drug trade, claiming again that it was an attempt to “silence” him for criticizing US air strikes.
But the persistent charges of fraud are on such an enormous scale that it seems impossible the reports were created entirely by the US, particularly when US officials are publicly about the only ones touting the elections as a success. What of the 800 completely fictitious polling sites? What of the multiple sites where ten times as many people voted as were even eligible? What about the sites where Karzai got every single vote?
The Afghan president doesn’t see anything funny with any of this, claiming that Afghan society’s history of tribalism means that in many regions the people vote as an undifferentiated collective instead of as individuals. He conceded that there may have been some irregularities, but insisted these were “inevitable” in any burgeoning democracy. He also took a shot at chief rival Abdullah Abdullah, noting that he would have responded “bitterly” as well if he had lost the vote.
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