I asked Peter Galbraith, the deputy head of the United Nations’ mission to Afghanistan who was deposed for supporting a more rigorous U.N. role in opposing vote fraud in the August 20 elections, what he thought about Abdullah Abdullah’s withdrawal from the runoff. “Abdullah did the right thing,” he told me in an email from Islamabad.
The run off was certain to be more fraudulent than the Aug 20 vote with more ghost poling centers and the same corrupt officials in charge. We are now stuck with the same corrupt and inefficient [incumbent President Hamid] Karzai that we had for the last seven years but now he is also rightly seen as illegitimate by a large segment of the Afghan population and by public opinion in the troop contributing countries. No amount of spin can obscure the fact that we spent upwards of $200 miilion on an election that has been a total fiasco.
The Afghan elections commission, which both Abdullah and Galbraith identified as a body filled with Karzai loyalists, has announced there will be no runoff election on Nov. 7 now that the challenger has pulled out. Galbraith wrote in an op-ed published yesterday that the runoff is was sure to be as disastrous as the first round of voting anyway.