How the Afghan Election Was Rigged

A former top U.N. official recounts the fraud he witnessed during Afghanistan's presidential vote — and why he lost his job for speaking up

Ahmad Masood / Reuters

An election worker opens a ballot box during the audit and recount process at a warehouse in Kabul

No one will ever know how Afghans voted in their country's presidential elections on Aug. 20, 2009. Seven weeks after the polling, the U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is still trying to separate fraudulent tallies from ballots. In some provinces, many more votes were counted than were cast. E.U. election monitors characterize 1.5 million votes as suspect, which would include up to one-third of the votes cast for incumbent President Hamid Karzai. Once fraud occurs on the scale of what took place in Afghanistan, it is impossible to untangle.

Afghanistan's fraudulent elections complicate President Obama's job as he weighs...

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