The United States reaffirms its support for a sovereign, unified, and democratic Afghanistan and for the Afghan election process. We have seen today’s announcement of preliminary results and note that these figures are not final or authoritative and may not predict the final outcome, which could still change based on the findings of the Afghan electoral bodies. Serious allegations of fraud have been raised and have yet to be adequately investigated.
We note that the United Nations, invited by President Karzai and both candidates to facilitate the process, has proposed a series of additional audits of suspect ballots, and that other measures have been under discussion. As the Independent Election Commission (IEC) statement noted, four additional measures have been accepted by both camps. Those measures affect more than 7000 ballot boxes, and potentially more than 3 million ballots. It is essential that the IEC work with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and the United Nations to execute the UN proposed audits and to answer all the legitimate questions raised by the two campaigns and independent observers.
A full and thorough review of all reasonable allegations of irregularities is essential to ensure that the Afghan people have confidence in the integrity of the electoral process and that the new Afghan President is broadly accepted inside and outside Afghanistan. It is the two electoral Commissions’ responsibility to address all credible allegations of fraud. They must implement a thorough audit whether or not the two campaigns agree.
We call upon both campaigns and their supporters to cooperate with these audits and to refrain from provocative statements or actions. As the Commission made clear, these results are not final and neither candidate should claim victory on the basis of this announcement. It is especially important that both campaigns send agents to observe the audit process. We believe that UN recommended audit process, provided it begins immediately, can be completed in time to allow the inauguration of the next President to proceed as scheduled on August 2.
The United States does not support any individual candidate. We have long stated our support for a credible, transparent, and inclusive process that is broadly supported by the Afghan people and produces a president who can bring Afghanistan together and govern effectively. We call on all sides to work toward this goal and to avoid steps that undermine national unity. The continued support of the United States for Afghanistan requires that Afghanistan remains united and that the result of this election is deemed credible.