A growing number of Western officials are calling for an audit of the ballots cast in the Afghan presidential election, increasing the likelihood that the nation’s electoral commission will have to formally reassess the June 14 runoff vote even as it prepares to announce preliminary results. Ever since Afghans voted in the runoff, the system has been deadlocked by allegations of widespread fraud. The presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has consistently complained that his opponent, Ashraf Ghani, with the help of the commission and other Afghan officials, rigged the vote. Mr. Abdullah spent weeks threatening to walk away from the process, and his brinkmanship now appears to be paying off. The continued political crisis has forced some international figures off the bench, despite earlier efforts to avoid the appearance of involvement in the Afghan elections.
Mr. Abdullah has prodded, probed and cajoled both his government and the international community to get involved. He has called the system illegitimate, staged protests and leaked numerous tapes purporting to show election officials conspiring to rig the election in favor of Mr. Ghani.
Now, seemingly recognizing the potential that the political crisis has to turn violent and threaten long-term Western interests in Afghanistan, more international officials are starting to get involved. The most recent voice was that of Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, who spoke to reporters in Kabul on Sunday.
Joined by the American ambassador, James B. Cunningham, Mr. Levin raised the prospect of a dual announcement on Monday, in which Afghan officials would both release preliminary results and announce an audit that would be satisfactory to both candidates.