Fake voter cards seized during Afghan parliamentary polls

A man was seized by police in Kabul with at least 15 fake voters' cards near a polling station, Ahmad Zia Rafhat, spokesman for the UN-backed Election Complaint Commission (ECC), said.

Counterfeit cards were also seized in the southern province of Helmand and northern province of Kunduz, officials said.

Candidates and observers had warned of the possibility of fraud as fake voting cards have been sold across the country. Millions of phony cards were said to have been printed in Pakistan.

Witnesses and a DPA reporter in Kunduz said they saw many voters who were able to clean off their index fingers after voting. Indelible ink is being used by election commission to mark voters' fingers to guard against double voting.

Reports of ballot-stuffing in favour of certain candidates were also reported in Kunduz, but officials could not confirm them. Rafhat said his office received reports of underage voting and of voters who could wash off the ink in Kabul.

Last year's presidential election was marred by massive fraud, mostly in favour of Hamid Karzai, who was re-elected. The ECC said more than 1 million of Karzai's votes were fraudulent, but the incumbent was finally declared the winner when his main opponent dropped out of a planned run-off election.

Staffan de Mistura, the top UN envoy to the country, said Saturday that fraud and security were major concerns despite tougher measures.

"Today is a crucial day, security is a concern, fraud is a concern. You know we are in Afghanistan, in the most critical period of the critical year," de Mistura said at a polling stations in Kabul where he was observing the process.

 

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