Afghanistan will lose US aid if prez poll candidates seize power: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Tuesday that any attempt to seize power in Afghanistan would cost the country its international aid.

hidden July 09, 2014 10:06:31 IST
Afghanistan will lose US aid if prez poll candidates seize power: Kerry

Kabul: US Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Tuesday that any attempt to seize power in Afghanistan would cost the country its international aid, after preliminary results of presidential elections sparked a row between the two candidates.

Afghanistan will lose US aid if prez poll candidates seize power Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry said any attempt to grab power in Afghanistan would result in loss of foreign aid. Reuters

Initial results released on Monday showed former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani had won the election, but a spokesman for his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah rejected the outcome as "a coup against the will of the people."

Fraud allegations immediately triggered a dispute and stoked concerns of instability after the figures showed Ghani collected 56.4 percent of the run-off vote against ex-foreign minister Abdullah's 43.5 percent.

In a statement, Kerry warned "I have noted reports of protests in Afghanistan and of suggestions of a 'parallel government' with the gravest concern. The United States expects Afghan electoral institutions to conduct a full and thorough review of all reasonable allegations of irregularities."

"Any action to take power by extra-legal means will cost Afghanistan the financial and security support of the United States and the international community," he added.

Turnout on 14 June was more than eight million out of an estimated electorate of 13.5 million, far higher than expected, and a figure likely to fuel fierce arguments about fraud from both sides.

The next president will lead Afghanistan at a pivotal time as US-led troops end their 13-year war against Taliban insurgents, and the fragile economy struggles with declining international aid.

"We can not deny fraud and violations in the process," Independent Election Commission (IEC) head Ahmad Yusuf Nuristani told reporters.

"In some cases some security forces were involved, in other cases senior government officials like governors or lower-level officials were involved."

Nuristani emphasised that the results would now be subject to auditing and adjudication of complaints, before the official result released on about 24 July.

"The preliminary result in no way means the announcement of the winner of the election," he said. "A change in the result is possible."

Last-minute talks delayed the results by nearly five hours yesterday, as the two campaigns tried to thrash out a deal over a proposed fraud probe that could yet derail Afghanistan's first democratic transfer of power.

"The announcement of results was a coup against the will of the people," Mujib Rahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah, told AFP.

PTI

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