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'There was fraud committed on both sides' says U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan

August 26th, 2014
12:10 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

Afghanistan is in a state of paralysis.

On the day of this interview the new Afghan President was supposed to be inaugurated, instead the country remains in a political deadlock.

Is the nation going to be able to take significant steps forward any time soon?

The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, seems to think so.

"There's actually been quite a bit of progress," he told Christiane Amanpour.

"What they've agreed is that there will be a president; there will be what's called a chief executive officer, not a prime minister, because that position doesn't exist under the Afghan constitution. It may later, but it doesn't now."

"All the details of how to do that are what they're sorting out right now."

Amanpour asked about the probability of a candidate being inaugurated by the new designated date of September 2nd.

"I think it's possible," said the diplomat. "It's an important opportunity for a president to be declared and to get him on to the international stage at the NATO summit a few days later."

"We'll keep trying to help them reach that goal"

'There are charges and allegations on both sides.'

Accusations of fraud have haunted the recent elections and are to blame for the stalled inauguration.

In the first round of voting Abdullah Abdullah was the clear victor, with many accounts stating he was almost two million votes clear of other challengers.

However, by the end of the second round another winner had emerged, Ashraf Ghani. Amanpour asked the Ambassador if what had happened could have occurred without fraudulent voting.

"There was fraud committed on both sides." Cunningham told her. "We know that from various sources and various kinds of evidence. But we don't know how much. There are charges and allegations on both sides that I'm not in a position to pass judgment on at this point."

Amanpour asked if the United States is worried about what could happen if the two candidates cannot resolve their differences, move forward and create a government.

Do they worry that, as in other parts of the world, others could take advantage of the situation to create an interim government and take power?

"There are reports and there have been threats and we take them seriously," the Ambassador told her.

"We've been very vocal about the fact that there needs to be an Afghan government that's created through the legitimate and constitutional process that we won't support any actions outside of the constitution and the legal process."

"That's what the Afghan political class and the Afghan people should be focused on. It's that kind of government that will have the support of a broad spectrum of Afghan opinion but very importantly, it's only a government that comes out of a constitutional process that will have this kind of support."

Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. ashok

    The brave Afghan people deserve commendation for coming out and voting in such large numbers. On a lighter note, either candidate would be an improvement over Hamid Karzai.

    August 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      Democracy has flaws. It is not a perfect system. Nothing is.

      Who majority wants, nation should get. That's the way it should be. Nothing comes better.

      August 28, 2014 at 9:00 am | Reply
  2. RLTJ's

    Election violence is common in Asian politics. Culture is one factor leading to that. Cheating [from flagrant, outright, or technical, whatever] is known to be almost by anybody if they have the chance to pull it.

    Cheating is not a monopoly of a side. Administration candidates usually have the edge.

    August 28, 2014 at 8:45 am | Reply
  3. RLTJ's

    There is no foolproof and perfect system with dishonest politicians. People have to continuously struggle against them for a better future, to add to their legitimate cause.

    August 28, 2014 at 8:55 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      People have to watch. Because what they get is what they deserve.

      August 28, 2014 at 9:02 am | Reply
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