Abdullah 'open to talk' after Afghan election official quits

KABUL, Afghanistan – A top Afghan election official accused of fraud resigned Monday, raising the chances of a breakthrough in a political deadlock that threatens to derail the country's presidential election as NATO troops withdraw.

Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, head of the secretariat of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), denied all charges against him but said he was stepping down to save the election process. Election candidate Abdullah Abdullah has boycotted the vote count, accusing the IEC of being biased against him after the run-off vote against his rival Ashraf Ghani a week ago.

Now the door is open for us to talk to the (election) commission and talk about the conditions and circumstances that will help the process," Abdullah told reporters after Amarkhail resigned. Abdullah's campaign team on Sunday released audio recordings that they said contained evidence of fraud committed by Amarkhail.

"For the sake of Afghanistan, for the sake of the election process, I am resigning from my post," Amarkhail said. "I have resigned only to protect the election process, and so that Dr Abdullah Abdullah can put an end to his boycott and resume his relationship with the IEC. "The audio recordings regarding fraud were fake."


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