Afghanistan poll row: U.S. Secretary of State in Kabul to ease tensions

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan for talks in an effort to broker a resolution to a disputed election that threatens to stir up ethnic tensions and undermine a peaceful political transition. Kerry would meet on Friday with the country’s two presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and officials from the United Nations. The Independent Election Commission declared Ghani the winner of the second round of voting on June 14 with 56.44 per cent of the vote, a difference of almost a million votes, according to preliminary results. Both candidates are alleging fraud.

While the United States does not support an individual candidate, we do support a credible, transparent and inclusive process that affirms the Afghan people’s commitment to democracy, and that produces a president who can bring Afghanistan together and govern effectively.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke

While the U.S. is drawing down its military presence in Afghanistan, it provides billions of dollars in aid, which helps to fund the operations of the Afghan government. Mr Kerry warned that any effort to resolve the dispute through violence or any extra-constitutional means, would cause the U.S. to withdraw assistance to Afghanistan.