April 2nd, 2010
08:02 AM ET

Karzai blames foreigners for election fraud

[Update: 3:06 p.m. ET] White House calls Karzai comments 'troubling'

Kabul, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai, just days after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, castigated the international community for meddling in national elections, saying foreigners - not his supporters - are responsible for widespread fraud.

"No doubt, there was huge fraud, there was vast fraud," Karzai said Thursday in a speech before the Independent Election Commission. "The fraud is not by the Afghans. This fraud has been done by the foreigners."

Karzai's comments come as Afghanistan is debating what role foreigners will play in parliamentary elections set for September.

On Wednesday, the lower house of Parliament rejected Karzai's decree revoking the authority of the United Nations to appoint members of the Electoral Complaints Commission - the same panel that tossed fraudulent votes cast for Karzai last summer.

A U.N.-backed fraud monitoring panel had invalidated nearly a third of Karzai's votes from last August's presidential election because of "clear and convincing evidence of fraud."

A runoff vote was canceled in the close race after challenger Abdullah Abdullah withdrew and Karzai was declared the winner.

The elections were seen as a key test for Afghanistan's struggling democracy, and the allegations of fraud stoked tensions between Karzai and his international allies, especially the United States.

Obama's visit earlier in the week was seen as an attempt by Washington to work out political difficulties as the United States and coalition forces prepare for a June military offensive designed to wrest control of the southern city of Kandahar from the Taliban.

With Obama at his side, Karzai thanked the United States, pointing out that U.S. taxpayers have helped rebuild his country.

But his accusations Thursday revealed the prickly nature of his relationship with his most powerful ally.

The United Nations in Afghanistan did not comment on Karzai's allegations. But Peter Galbraith, the former U.N. deputy chief in Afghanistan who was at odds with the U.N. chief for his early criticism of the presidential vote, said he he thought at first that Karzai was making an "April Fool's joke."

"The U.N. fired me for trying to prevent that kind of fraud, and Karzai and his lieutenants committed it to try to get him re-elected," Galbraith said. "It's absurd to suggest that I or the U.N. could have done this."

Galbraith said Karzai's connection to reality is slim.

"This just shows how unreliable he is as an ally," he said.

At a press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said he had not seen Karzai's specific comments but that the United States will continue to press the Afghan president on promises he made in his inaugural speech - to fight corruption and practice good governance.

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soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Chris H.

    If what is being reported is true, then it is time that President Obama pulled out all support and troops. If Karzai feels that we are interferring, then he should try and protect his own Country WITHOUT MY TAX DOLLARS. Now it's time to put up or shut up. Maybe Karzai should start with Afghanistan's infrastructure and weed out some of that corruption.

    April 8, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    I say enough with the BS.....This is still the U.S. of America, run by the people for the people.....We should have a popular vote......BY THE PEOPLE....to see if we should keep our troops there or bring them back home.... I SAY SCREW THE RED TAPE AND LET THE 'PEOPLE' DECIDE!!!!!! NOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

    April 7, 2010 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. michael

    Its funny how Karzai always has some smug comment to make about everyone that's helping keep him alive!!! By everyone I mean the UNITED STATES!!! When Karzai travels from his palace the whole city gets shut down U.S. Apaches are combing the skies to make sure there's no unusal activity...enough already

    April 7, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike F

    ...and then maybe....just maybe...we should support the return of the Taliban as a 'party' in Afghanistan. At least we'd know where their leaders are at any given time!!!

    April 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike F

    I have to wonder if Karzai will also denounce the Holocaust in the near future!

    Is it no wonder that the stronghold of the Taliban in Afghanistan is in the area of his home tribe?

    Is it no wonder that training of the Taliban by Iranians is taking place on Afghani soil?

    I had hopes for this dude...but it is waning fast...

    April 6, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nathanael [desert voice]

    To be fair, this is the first time that President Karzai looked as "presidential." It's a paradox of sorts. I have always blasted him for inaction and phony, devious attitude. But Afghanistan is a special case. If Karzai looks "strong", he appeals to the warlords and gets results. Of course, his new "macho" image rattles many people. But I caution: we should not get rattled by his image, but by what he delivers! If the U.S. finds a way to communicate with Karzai as a reliable friend, we should let him adopt whichever persona he wishes! On the other hand, he must continue to be coached and monitored until there is certainty that he is not procrastinating, waiting out the Coalition for devious, selfish purposes.

    April 6, 2010 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gord Higham

    Does anyone seriously believe that after only 9 years and a couple of elections that Afghanistan would suddenly blossom. If people are comparing Afghanistan in 2010 with a country that has had over 200 years to develop it's democracy (yes I mean the US of A) then give your heads a collective shake. Afghanistan is a country that has been smashed and driven into the dirt, not by NATO, the US or Canada, but by it's own internal feuding tribes based on a religious theocracy that brooks no criticism. It's damn near impossible to turn a culture of repression and generations of people who have lived in terror into a thriving society based on secular civil law and one that recognizes the inherent rights of man. The world will be a much better place once both Iraq and Afghanistan are under the umbrella of democracy and freedom. Of course there is such hatred and malice towards the western world, psychopaths and despots cannot live in a civil society bounded by law and run by the citizens. That is why they are fighting so hard, their entire way of life is being threatened.

    April 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Mohsen is probably correct. I didn't appreciate seeing Ajmadinejad patting the back od President Karzai. Ajmadinejad has a way of forcing himself on wabbling "marriage partners." It's not a statutory rape,m but something in between. Hugo Chavez is like that [and ┼╗irinovsky]. This is what happened here. Ajmadinejad likely convinced President Karzai that Iran is a more reliable long-term partner than the United States. Iran needs a subservient fifdom, and Afghanistan is very promissing in that respect. Democracy in Afghanistan is A long away out. It was irresponsible to think, as some commentators have said, that "this election was a test of Democracy." It was not, because it could not have been! Many elections will be needed to imprint on the Afghans a sense of true democracy! In the meantime, what is important is to plan ahead and not get discouraged. Afghanistan must never repeat the bloody history of Iraq. That is the core idea that should be kept in mind. Another important thing is not to allow any bullying by Iran, until Iran becomes a reliable partner of the free world, and until Afghanistan is free to choose its partners. Letting in Iran now would be like allowing a rape by looking away! Efforts must not be spared to keep preparing Afghanistan for Democracy, by conscience building in the people and in the elders. Democracy will mean Afghans, but not the Taliban. More importantly, it will mean a sense of independence and sovereignty that responsible nations deserve! I wish it was already there, but it would be a wishful thinking: Democracy is not yet there!

    April 5, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Adgeless

    The Taliban were kicked out of Afghanistan and found a safe and supportive place to continue their attacks in Pakistan. An administration was and continues to be in power there that, though claiming to be an ally, provides support and security for our enemies. Now, after years of sacrifice by Afghan citizens, and coalition soldiers and their families, we've put an administration in power in Afghanistan that is insulting our efforts, our sacrifices, and is providing support to our enemies...including drug lords and relious psychopaths.

    It's time to leave. Why should another coalition soldier die to support this corrupt regime that supports our enemies and criminal activities that drain our society? Let his enemies take him...and, when they build up again and put us at risk, we'll bomb them back to the stone age again.

    April 5, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. abdul wali khan zazai`

    when i heard that hamid karzai pointed out the allegation s of fraud on westren countries regrading last year august elections controversy i was really shocked that how can a man who has got his comfortable position under the presence of those forigners who gurnteeied his security could be blamed by him i think hamid karzai is completely ignored and ungrtatful human being who is living in Afghanistan under the tight security by those whom he blames them for elections fraud karzai is also foregetting that these are the westerners who made him possible to stay under thier so presence. for that i can only say that karzai must pray to ALLAH that first the westerners remain in Afghanistan for as long as they make us sure and then pray to west who has make him assuesred that nothing will happen to him and why he didnt point out those allagations eraly as he did it now.

    April 5, 2010 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
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