KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission accused the attorney general’s office Sunday of “irresponsible statements” challenging results of a September parliamentary poll, warning it could spark a political crisis.
The election was tainted by widespread allegations of fraud, including reports of fake voter identification cards, repeat voting and intimidation.
Afghan media reported that the attorney general’s office has asked the Supreme Court to cancel the results.
But the commission, or IEC, said in a statement Sunday the final results could not be challenged by any institution. The IEC threw out nearly a quarter of the 5.6 million votes cast over fraud and technical concerns.
The IEC said the attorney general’s office had “expressed various irresponsible statements” regarding the election results and that it had “tried to interfere in the electoral process by questioning the election results with excuses such as violations of the electoral law, offences and election fraud.”
“The IEC believes that irresponsible statements of other organizations related to electoral issues would lead Afghanistan toward a political crisis and such an organization will be responsible for such a crisis,” the commission said.
Attorney General Ishaq Aloko, who was appointed by President Hamid Karzai, was not available for comment. Karzai has also been critical of the poll, which is likely to have produced a parliament with a larger, more vocal and coherent opposition.
Saturday, South African judge Johann Kriegler, one of five commissioners on a U.N.-backed election watchdog, also said the attorney general’s office did not have the legal authority to challenge “the legitimacy or otherwise of the whole of the elections or any part thereof.”
The election results for the last of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces were announced on December 1, paving the way for a new 249-seat wolesi jirga, or lower house of parliament, to be formed after months of political uncertainty.
The U.N. mission in Afghanistan has congratulated Afghan election officials for conducting a vote in the middle of an insurgency, but has also noted “considerable fraud” took place.
The September elections are likely to have been evaluated by President Barack Obama during a review of his Afghanistan war strategy, which he is due to release this week amid rising violence and sagging public support.
Foreign and Afghan troops have been fighting insurgents in Afghanistan since ousting the Taliban from power in 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
NATO leaders agreed at a summit in Lisbon last month to end combat operations and hand security responsibility to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Obama has promised to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from July 2011.
Additional reporting by Jonathon Burch; editing by Paul Tait