News Summary - September 20, 2010

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In today’s news: IEC says it has received tallies of nearly 4 million votes cast, with 22 provinces having completed counting at local levels. New NATO figures report 485 violent incidents on Election Day; IEC confirms that three kidnapped workers in Balkh were found dead yesterday. ECC says it has received 126 written complaints and 1,300 verbally. US administration continues to reassess its anti-corruption efforts.

Afghanistan — Election

  • Counting and Allegations of Fraud: The IEC reported yesterday that it had received tallies of nearly 4 million votes cast, with 22 provinces having completed counting at the local levels and 11 between 55-99% completed, although 157 centers still have yet to report any figures. New NATO figures provided to the AFP report 485 violent incidents on Election Day, compared to 479 during last year’s presidential vote; the IEC said 21 civilians were killed and 46 wounded. Countrywide the Electoral Complaints Commission said it had received at least 126 written complaints and 1,300 verbally, which must be submitted in written form to be investigated. TOLO reports allegations of interference in vote counting by Jamil Karzai, a candidate from Kabul and relative of the president. Former presidential challenger Abdullah Abdullah, who did not run for parliament, warns the AP that “there is a possibility of people taking things into their own hands” if voters feel disenfranchised; Sabrina Saqib, a parliamentarian and former supporter of Abdullah who did not run for reelection, tells the Christian Science Monitor that the lack of a party system in the parliament causes her to believe that the next parliament will be “even weaker” and unable to challenge Pres. Karzai institutionally. [NYT] [AP] [AFP] [TIME] [Guardian] [AJE] [TOLO] [CSM]

Afghanistan — Security

  • Attacks: The bodies of three kidnapped IEC poll workers were found in Balkh province yesterday, the IEC announced. IEC Chairman Fazal Ahmad Manawi said that 93 attacks on polling stations during the vote Saturday had been reported. Separately in Helmand, two British soldiers were killed in a bomb near the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. [BBC] [WAPO] [Guardian] [TOLO]

Afghanistan — Politics and Diplomacy

  • Anti-Corruption: The US plans to work more closely in private with Pres. Karzai to address high-level corruption among Afghan officials and to instead redirect most of its efforts against lower-level corruption thought to more directly impact Afghan lives, the WSJ reports. "We are not in the business of creating a corruption-free Afghanistan,” one defense official tells the paper; officials say they have yet to determine the extent to which specific types of corruption directly affect the insurgency and how to counter them. [WSJ]

Afghanistan — Remainders

  • Ahmadinejad Tells ABC Interview He is Ready to Discuss Afghanistan and the Taliban [Dawn]
  • Commentary: So How Did the Elections Go? - “It will take the observers months to figure out what really happened and whether the electoral institutions played the system or not – if ever.” [Martine van Bijlert, AAN]
  • Commentary: Let’s Talk Turnout - “To announce a turnout figure of 40% that is based on an unusual calculation and that has not been corrected or caveated for fraud-induced inflated numbers is a misrepresentation.” [Martine van Bijlert, AAN]