Elections in Afghanistan have been marred by a jump in fraud reports—to 550 from 270, The New York Times reports. One man showed up to his job at the polling station at 6 a.m. to find ballot boxes already filled. When he complained, bodyguards chased him off, in just one example of the reported voting fraud. President Hamid Karzai, who has about 46 percent of the vote, compared to rival Abdullah Abdullah's 31 percent, is often the beneficiary of the reported fraud. Both Karzai and Abdullah are declaring victory, and official results won’t be announced until a panel has convened to investigate voter fraud. Western officials are uneasy at the prospect of a government in limbo while U.S. troops are battling the Taliban in a difficult new phase of the war. Independent election observers say “systematic and institutional corruption” is at work.
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