Election probe in Afghanistan leads to nine arrests

Western officials are ‘very worried’ about the state of the young democracy

Afghan authorities have arrested nine people and are seeking the arrest of four election officials in connection with allegations of fraud relating to September’s parliamentary vote. According to Deputy Attorney General Rahmatullah Nazari, authorities are also looking for a UN worker in Afghanistan. The investigation could cause tensions among members of the Karzai administration, election officials, and even the international community at a crucial moment in the war. As U.S. forces rid southern Afghanistan of Taliban fighters, these gains will only be lasting if the Afghan government is reliable. The Sept. 18 parliamentary elections, many hoped, would have a boosting effect on the government’s credibility, improving last year’s fraud-ridden presidential vote, which returned President Karzai to office. But it seems these fraud-filled parliamentary vote and the undemocratic tallying process—total results are now more than a month overdue—have only highlighted the fragility of Afghanistan’s young democracy. As one Western official put it: “We are very worried.”

Wall Street Journal

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