Gross: Massive Fraud in Afghanistan Election

Nasrine Gross writes in a guest op-ed for IC

Friends & Colleagues,

I have just returned from Kabul. And I am shocked how little the extent of fraud in the presidential elections is understood outside Afghanistan. In this regard I have some data that I would like to share.

During the summer and up until I left a few days ago I worked as a volunteer for Dr. Abdullah’s campaign. I was impressed with how well the campaign was being conducted with so many experienced, educated and prominent Afghans as well as eager and dedicated young men and women, but I was stunned by how much people were seeking Dr. Abdullah. In Kabul alone, on a daily basis, around 10,000 persons came to the campaign headquarters in Char-rahi Shahid, and when Dr. Abdullah was in the office in Char-rahi Ansari, he met with about 2,000 people. The office was open twenty-four hours and campaign workers and Dr. Abdullah himself saw people and/or attended to other work, very often until after 3 a.m. I was enormously proud of my people, most of whom only have the experience of the last two elections (presidential 2004, and parliamentary 2005) to be so gung-ho on this process of democracy and instinctively doing it right.

I worked in Dr. Abdullah’s office and so the multitudes that I ran into, and I really mean multitudes, gave me a new perspective on my country: From every part of Afghanistan, from every ethnic, religious, linguistic and locality group, from every political persuasion, from men, women, old, young, poor, rich, educated and illiterate, people came in droves. In those hot summer days, especially when electricity would go off and the fan would stop running, sometimes there were more than fifteen people in my office waiting to see their candidate, in a space of no more than 14 feet by 9 feet! They were also in every corner of that house turned office, in the corridors standing, in the lawns sitting and squatting, in the rooms in the outhouses lying on mattresses, on chairs in the waiting rooms inside the building, in the dining area, in the utility room, in the cook’s quarters, there were human bodies, turban’ed, burqa’ed, veiled, suited, in groups, chaperoned, or in single file, but there were people – - as if all of a sudden they had realized they had a real choice and flood gates had burst open, they were rushing to see Dr. Abdullah! I could not hear my own thoughts; such were the din of their presence! I got to learn a lot of Pashto, some Uzbeki, heard a lot of Noorestani, many dialects of Hazaragi, and many other languages. I met so many more people from so many other places and provinces and of course so many women! Ah, it was tiring but also a real treat to be part of this wonderful sea of humanity stumbling over itself to do something right!

And then there was the campaign trail that I did not participate in but heard about from my office mate who was in charge of the foreign press and went to every pit stop with the candidate – - and brought me stories and photos for the website. When we had Jalalabad, we thought ‘oh wow!’ and upon his return, gave our candidate a standing ovation over lunch (at 3:30 pm!) But then Herat happened where it took him more than two hours to go a distance that normally takes twenty minutes and for several subsequent days, the cuts and scratches on his fingertips to his upper arms were witness to the pull of the thousands who had thronged his motorcade and had clasped him in welcoming gestures! Well, we were elated and could not find words for it but knew that this was a turning point in the campaign, that our dreams were going to have more flesh, that the foreign press was really talking about it. And then, the thousands in Paktia, Paktika, Bamiyan, Ghor, Pul-e Khomri, and in Kandahar three thousand men and one thousand women met him in separate rallies, the same city where Mr. Karzai was received by 500 mostly complaining people! By the time Mazar rolled around with over one hundred thousand persons, we had gotten used to it: Dr. Abdullah had transcended all molds of Afghan leaders, candidates and elections, people were rallying around him like their long lost guiding light, embodying all their hopes for change, for the future, for dignity that trust in tomorrow brings. It was giddying and we did not mind the twenty hour days – - I remember one night – - actually morning at 3:30 am, my brain had gone to mush but Dr. Abdullah was still going strong!

On Election Day and afterwards I worked specifically on 8 provinces: Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Urozgan. It is in regard to these 8 provinces that I am enclosing some of my findings.

1) For my base data I used the data provided by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for each province. Because I had received many calls during the Election Day from these provinces about problems with polling areas and people not participating, I used the IEC province and polling center data and met with our representatives from these provinces. Specifically, I wanted to know whether a polling center was open or closed, and what the problems were in the polling centers regardless of their being open or closed. To make sure that I had good data, I met separately with different people from each province and double checked and triple checked what they reported (I am speechless that these people worked with me in the most professional manner despite the fact that the sense of betrayal, insult, anger, humiliation, shame and disbelief was eating away at their very soul and many of them, grown men and women alike would uncontrollably shed tears when reporting the situation to me echoing what one of them had said ‘I only had my vote and he (Karzai) stole it from me; I feel like my person has been violated!’

The results of these verifications I have compiled in large Excel tables for each of the 8 provinces. I also made a smaller aggregate table. I am sending you this table which shows that in these 8 provinces there were over 1,680 polling centers (each consisting of many polling stations) and 56% of them were closed and 73% had problems. The table also shows the problems in each province, as reported by these witnesses and workers.

2) After the IEC started posting the results of the polls I took one of the IEC partial data (I think it was at 71% of total polling stations) and subtracted the votes reported from closed polling centers. The results were phenomenal. Only a very partial list of polling centers in each province, totaling 120 centers, showed the extent of fraud clearly: a) in terms of total votes for Mr. Karzai, b) the percentage of votes for Mr. Karzai vis-à-vis the total votes cast, and, c) in terms of the total votes reported versus the total estimated voter population in any polling center.

Here, I am sending the partial list of only one province, Kandahar, where you can see that the IEC Pro-Karzai votes are over 45,000 and those reported from closed polling centers amount to over 31,000 of them! You can also see that in several of the polling centers the votes reported are more than 100% of the total estimated voter population of the area. How can that be when there was such a bad security situation in all of Kandahar that day? In several polling centers you can see that the percent of the vote for Mr. Karzai is above 70%. We know that extremely few women, perhaps as little as one hundred women in the whole of the province went to vote. Assuming that not every woman in that center had registered to vote, this is an impossibility to have over 70% of an entire population consisting of males! You can also see that in several places 100% of vote went to Mr. Karzai. Again, how could there be not even one vote against Mr. Karzai in a province that has seen so much conflict and where so much criticism of Mr. Karzai’s family exists? These trends are very evident both across the entire province and in all the other 8 provinces that I dealt with.

3) I also have a copy of a letter the campaign headquarters sent to the Election Complaints Commission (ICC). This letter describes the types of systematic fraud we had uncovered until then including the computer fraud. In this particular type of fraud, through hard core programming of the system, all candidates were beneficiaries, only that Mr. Karzai was by a much larger multiplier than the rest – - so some of the fraud attributed to Dr. Abdullah is actually Mr. Karzai’s people trying to be smart! (I can send you a copy of this letter if you so wish.)

4) Finally, since one day after the election, droves of people from each province of Afghanistan have been coming to Kabul to present evidence of fraud, report their eyewitness and meet with Dr. Abdullah regarding a course of action to redress the wrong that has been done to them. Sometimes they come in tens, but most often they come in hundreds. Usually, they hold press conferences. Dr. Abdullah keeps asking these disgruntled voters to keep calm, to wait for the ICC to complete its work, to have faith.

A few days ago, more than six thousand of these people coming from 33 provinces of Afghanistan (for the 34th province, Kabul, people were already there) met with Dr. Abdullah at Kabul’s Uranus Hotel. Together they passed a resolution. I have translated it and am sending it to you as well. You will see that these people are reasonable, rational and intent on success for Afghanistan and its friends and allies.

I hope that this documentation will shed better light not only on the extent of fraud and the premeditated and planned nature of it but also on the desire of Afghan people to see their voice recognized, and to help the international community make the right choice – - for Afghanistan and for the world at large. My people want that we must not discard the real votes; that we must not sanction fraud; that we must honor the right of the people to choose. This is the sure way to building security, stability and peace!

I know it is my right I am talking about; but make no mistake, it is also the path for peace and success for all our friends around the world, not the least of whom are the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States and other countries fighting the Taliban, Al Qaida and who knows who else in Afghanistan!

I assure you that no calamity would befall Afghanistan or the world if the right, democratic path is taken: There will be no rejection or revolt by the Pashtun population (Working with Pashtuns from these 8 provinces I know for a fact that a majority of the Pashtuns did not vote for Mr. Karzai; their vote was stolen from them for one candidate). The non-Pashtuns will not feel that their vote was squandered. The enemies of Afghanistan will receive a loud and clear message that the world is on the side of Afghanistan as are the Afghans. And, those countries and organizations aiding the enemies of Afghanistan will realize that their advantage is to approach Afghanistan in a different manner.

End/ (Not Continued)

9 Responses

  1. While I admire Ms. Gross' dedication and her invaluable work assembling reasonably verifiable data, I am also a bit disappointed in her naivete.

    I've worked on a number of association elections here and "massive fraud" is absolutely the norm. Whether it's perpetrated by the candidates themselves, by their supporters without their knowledge, or by unscrupulous buyers and sellers simply trying to make some money, is almost irrelevant.

    I've talked to a number of intelligent, committed Afghans who sadly and reluctantly confided in me that they chose not to vote because they felt that whether Karzai, Abdullah or Ghani came out ahead, it wouldn't make the least bit of difference. They despair that the traditional structures that have served Afghanistan well over hundreds of years, structures such as the village shuras and people like the local mullahs who are obligated by the tenets of their faith to look after the common good of the people, have basically been left in the dust – and there's PLENTY of dust here – to be replaced by a voting process that no one either wants or understands OTHER than as a way to get some quick money.

    Massive voter fraud in Afghanistan? Well, yeah, you betcha! Massive corruption? Absolutely! Have the good people of the United States – myself included – been primarily responsible for creating these conditions? Is the Pope a Catholic?

    Posted from Kabul, Wednesday morning, October 7.

    link to takeitpersonally.blogspot.com

  2. Dear Mr Cole,
    We have all heard of many many cases of fraud committed during this election. I understand there is even video footage of Karzai officials stuffing ballots. It would be good if you could post the excel data mentioned in this piece as a download. Others could use it in analyzing what exactly took place during the elections.

  3. The very idea of holding election under colonial occupation is a nonsense (the only more or less real election of such sort was in Palestine, and everyone knows the result -i.e. the colonial power spat on people's will)

    But so-called election in Afghanistan was a lucky event in one sense – just like every good scientific trial needs "control group", Afghanistan served as a control group for Iran

    1) Iran is an independen nation, all efforts by imperialism, Zionism and their allies notwithstanding

    Afghanistan is a country after colonial occupation (and a resistance to such occupation)

    2) In Iran, while there is not a full freadom of elections, it was not much different from USA in such case (everyone knows who could and who not be elected in USA and it depends NOT on public vote)

    In Afghanistan there were several puppets of colonial occupatin wrestling for a honour – to be designated by their masters as a favorite puppet.

    3) There were meaningful difference between candidates in Iran, much more than between "serious" ones in USA

    Afghanistan – see 2)

    4) Iran – election was pretty much open to verification, with observers from opposition and so on.

    Afghanistan – it was a sham from the beginning to the end

    5) Iran – opposition crying faul was mostly supported by the same powers who are colonial occupators of Afghanistan and Iraq and have organised recently in a few other states "colour revolutions" with the same plot (even in details)

    Afghanistan – the same powers were silent, even though the same cries were aboundant

    6) Iran – no real proof of "massive fraud", so supporters of opposition just have to go on splitting hairs

    Afghanistan – ton of proof of a gross fraud, virtually no reacion from the same quarters that without questioning repeat accusitions of fraud in Iran

    And so on. So, the trial was VERY through one, and the results is hard not to see :)

    By the way, supporters of "green rev" in Iran many times called the resulsts "a coup"

    If one has some spare time one could compare Iranian election to a recent coup in Honduras . It could be enlightening too

  4. Fraud is allowed as long as the US/Israeli puppet comes out on top. Has there ever been a fair election in Egypt? The US/Israeli cries of "fraud" are only screamed if the wrong guy wins.

  5. Ooh! Ooh! SOmeone inform the New York Times of the massive electoral fraud in Afghanistan. Considering how they had wall-to-wall coverage in Iran, no doubt they'll be just as forthcoming with election fraud in Afghanistan. No doubt at all.

  6. If there are links in the piece to the Excel spreadsheets she mentions, I didn't see them. If they're there please point them out; if not, could you put them in a comment or subsequent post?

  7. I have just read a short report on a poll about Afghanistan. I am absolutely stunned. Have the American people become so depressed and hopeless that they have accepted an eternal unending war? That the government has gone so completely out of control that a clear majority of the people cannot end it?

    link to blogs.cqpolitics.com

    Americans Expecting No Resolution in Afghanistan

    October 5, 2009 6:46 PM

    Majorities of American adults think the war in Afghanistan cannot be won and that its most likely conclusion would be no conclusion at all, according to a poll by Clarus Research Group conducted Oct. 1-4.

    Sixty-eight percent of the respondents said the United States will not win or lose the war which will go on without resolution, Clarus said.

    Sixty-one percent of Democrats want to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, while 17 percent want to send in additional troops. Fifty-four percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents are in favor of sending in more troops.

    The poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

  8. Has the U.S. played any part in the fraudulent election?

    Just wondering.

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