In perhaps the clearest sign yet that the September 17 deadline for releasing the results of last month’s Afghan election is off the table, the US State Department is now saying that it will likely take “months” to sort out the many allegations of fraud and determine if there will need to be a run-off vote.
The comments are a significant change from previous US position, as President Obama, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke et al had previously been touting the election as a great success and dismissing the claims of fraud.
Earlier today the Afghan Election Commission conceded that there was “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” on a massive scale in the vote, and said hundreds of polling sites had to be thrown out, while many others will face a recount.
Though President Karzai’s term ended on May 21, he has remained in office pending the vote for months, and between the reports of fraud and the prospect of a run-off vote with top rival Abdullah Abdullah he may remain in power for many months more, despite growing evidence that his campaign tried to steal the election.
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