Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Afghan Youth Debates: Mutual Recriminations

By Akmal Azhar






The campaign teams behind the two candidates in Afghanistan’s presidential election continue to accuse each other of rigging the result.

After the June 14 run-off, one of the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, refused to accept preliminary figures that showed he had lost to Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and was 13 percentage points behind the latter’s 56 per cent of the vote. To prevent the electoral process falling apart, an independent recount is now being conducted.

Arguments are taking place at provincial level as well as in the capital.

Khushal, a press officer for Abdullah's campaign team in the eastern zone (Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar and Nuristan provinces), told IWPR that "the clean votes haven’t been separated off from the unclean ones….. Our opponents secured more votes because of fraud, so the results are unacceptable."

Ershad Raghand, chief press officer for the Ahmadzai team in the east, denied any wrongdoing, insisting that the victory for his candidate shown in early results was a genuine reflection of the electorate’s will.

"Ours is not a team of fraud. We secured people's clean votes. We would not want even one unclean vote,” Raghand said. “Our opponents must respect the people's vote."

Abdul Basir Sabawoon, who heads a civil society group in Nangarhar called the Positive Change Association, told IWPR it was essential to come to a clear-cut, transparent decision about who had won.

He warned against some behind-the-scenes deal resulting in a coalition. That would be the worst positive outcome, “as if the Afghan people swallowed poison”, he said.

“We demand that both teams accept the [final] result,” he said. “If a coalition government is created, it will mean that the nation’s vote has been disregarded, and that people will never participate in elections again."

Akmal Azhar is a student at Nangarhar University and and an IWPR trainee reporter. 

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.

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