Second day of protests over Afghan election fraud claims

Hundreds of supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah held protests over alleged electoral fraud for a second day across Kabul on Sunday, as a political stalemate deepens in the country.

The protesters, some of whom gathered by the presidential palace, chanted ‘long live Abdullah’ and called for the death of Afghanistan’s electoral commission chief, who is handling fraud allegations relating to votes cast in the election’s second round. A similar-sized gathering in Herat, western Afghanistan, saw a group largely composed of students burn their voter registration cards in protest against alleged irregularities in the contest between Abdullah and rival Ashraf Ghani.

Abdullah has boycotted the election vote count, pitching Afghanistan into crisis as NATO combat troops withdraw from a 13-year war against Taliban insurgents. The former foreign minister has alleged that the turnout figure of seven million in the June 14 run-off was exaggerated, and that in several provinces there were more votes than eligible voters.

On Sunday’s protests came a day after more than 1,000 of Abdullah’s supporters marched through Kabul in another largely peaceful demonstration. The two days of ‘anti-fraud’ rallies were not organised by Abdullah’s campaign, but the crowds appeared to be made up of Abdullah supporters.
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