After a potential opening last week to ease Afghanistan’s political crisis, the presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah signaled on Sunday that more deadlock was ahead, promising again that he would not accept any decisions made by the country’s election commission after the panel rejected a list of his demands. “From today onward, we reject all the decisions and activities of the Independent Election Commission, which will not have any legal value anyway,” said Baryalai Arsalai, Mr. Abdullah’s campaign manager. “They have no intention to assess the fraudulent votes and separate the dirty votes from the clean votes.” In the two weeks since the presidential runoff vote, the election process has been shadowed by accusations of fraud and conspiracy, with the Abdullah campaign accusing a range of officials all the way to the presidential palace of rigging the vote against him. There have been dramatic protests flooding the streets of Kabul, and secretly captured phone calls that allegedly show election officials conspiring to rig the race.
The United Nations had tried to encourage the Abdullah campaign to re-engage with the election commission. After some persuading, the campaign agreed, issuing a letter outlining 13 demands that it said would help mitigate the alleged fraud, which the campaign has said ranges from 1.5 million to 2.5 million falsified ballots. In response, the campaign received a letter from the commission on Sunday rejecting the demands.
Now the process is up in the air again, along with millions of Afghan voters left to wonder whether their ballots will count, and with Western officials watching in concern as they try to organize a military withdrawal. Apart from public admonitions by the United Nations and the Obama administration for the Afghan candidates to follow the electoral process as laid out under law, the threshold for any sort of international invention is unclear.