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UN report confirms widespread poll fraud -

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SHANE MCLEOD: One of the factors still complicating the puzzle in Afghanistan is the credibility of
its recent elections.

A leaked United Nations document reveals that there was unmistakable and widespread vote rigging.

Only last week the UN's deputy special representative in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, was sacked
for speaking out about the depth of election fraud.

Bronwyn Herbert reports.

BRONWYN HERBERT: There's been ballot box stuffing and lodging of votes from polling stations that
were never opened.

Now the United Nations' own figures on voting in Afghanistan have been leaked and the numbers don't
add up.

In some provinces more than 100,000 ballots were cast, though the UN estimates as few as 5,000
people actually voted.

Election workers began recounting some suspect ballots on Monday however they were ordered to check
just 10 per cent of the votes cast in 3,500 ballot boxes.

Abdul Rahim Nawakhtyar is from the Afghan Independent Election Commission.

ABDUL RAHIM NAWAKHTYAR (translated): As of yesterday evening we had inspected 161 fraudulent ballot
boxes and today we are hoping to inspect more boxes so we can finish the process by tomorrow, then
we will send the results to the Electoral Complaint Commission and they will decide on it.

BRONWYN HERBERT: The election rigging revelations come a week after the second highest ranking UN
official in Afghanistan, Peter Galbraith, was sacked after accusing the UN of turning a blind eye
to fraud.

PETER GALBRAITH: In some cases there were four to 10 times as many votes recorded as voters
actually appeared. By some calculations it could be that up to 30 per cent of the votes for
President Karzai were fraudulent.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Professor William Maley was an observer at the election and told AM that he too
was aware of the discrepancies.

WILLIAM MALEY: I don't think there's any doubt that we witnessed industrial scale fraud in
Afghanistan. I was there as an (inaudible) observer and within 24 hours of the close of the poll,
informed people were very well aware that there have been major efforts to orchestrate fraud in a
number of key parts of the country.

BRONWYN HERBERT: There's now been eight years of military action in Afghanistan to oust the
Taliban.

The Taliban pledged in a statement posted online they don't pose a threat to the United States.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said their aim was:

EXCERPT FROM STATEMENT (voiceover): Obtainment of independence and establishment of an Islamic
system in the country and not to attack the West. We did not have any agenda to harm other
countries, including Europe, nor we have such agenda today.

BRONWYN HERBERT: Retired major general Jim Molan says Afghanistan faces similar governance and
troop issues that Iraq did.

He says the revelations of widespread election fraud shouldn't be used as an excuse to stop sending
forces

JIM MOLAN: Using the failure of that election to say we shouldn't be in Afghanistan because why
should we fight for an illegitimate government.

BRONWYN HERBERT: How do you believe this latest revelation will impact Australia's military
commitment?

JIM MOLAN: I don't think it will impact on our military commitment because we've already made our
mind up that we are not going to take over from the Dutch next year. I would also suspect that
we've told the Americans we are not going to make a significant increase in the number of troops in
the future.

Where I think it will be interesting is if President Obama has now got to find, if he makes the
decision, of all the options he's being offered, to find another 40,000 to 50,000 more troops, and
he has to find them out of the US, then I think he will start looking at his allies totally
differently.

BRONWYN HERBERT: The Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith was unavailable to speak with The World
Today.

But in a statement the Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner says he was "aware of the very
serious issues which have been raised regarding the election in Afghanistan," and as he has "made
clear in Parliament there is a process for examining these issues and it remains important for that
process to be respected and finalised."

A ruling on whether President Hamid Karzai won or will face an election run-off against Opposition
leader Abdullah Abdullah is expected next week.

SHANE MCLEOD: Bronwyn Herbert reporting.