Afghan crisis deepens amid election fraud charges

AP News
Posted: Jun 19, 2014 10:11 AM
Afghan crisis deepens amid election fraud charges

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's political crisis is showing no signs of easing as presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah says the electoral commission has ignored his demands and he will not resume cooperation with them.

Abdullah, who is facing off against Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, escalated his complaints about the conduct of the June 14 runoff vote Thursday despite pleas from the U.N. and the U.S. to respect the process and wait for official results.

The fraud allegations have marred what Western officials had hoped would be an important step toward democracy for the troubled country as the U.S. and its allies wind down their 13-year combat mission.

Abdullah acknowledges concerns the crisis could further destabilize the country but says the responsibility for that ultimately lies with the Independent Election Commission and its affiliated complaints commission.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Taliban suicide bombers struck NATO fuel trucks at a key border crossing in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, setting off explosions that destroyed dozens of trucks and triggering a gunbattle with police guards that left all the attackers dead.

The attack in eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan, began early in the morning, according to a spokesman for the border police in Nangarhar, Idris Momand.

Three Taliban bombers targeted a parking lot of the NATO outpost near the Torkham border crossing, a key supply route for the alliance.

Momand said 37 NATO trucks were destroyed in explosions set off by the gunbattle with the guards.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said two of the attackers were killed by police while one blew himself up.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his group was behind the attack.

Most NATO cargo shipments go through the Torkham crossing, toward Pakistan's port city of Karachi.

The Taliban have intensified their spring offensive in Afghanistan in a bid to undermine the Western-backed government as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.