CE Abdullah and US Secretary of State Pompeo discuss Afghan ‘elections’

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah talked to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo via a phone call last night, December 02, discussing peace and election issues of Afghanistan, according to a statement released by the office of the chief executive.

According to the statement, both sides also discussed the recent surprise visit of US President Donald Trump to Afghanistan.

Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan and met with American soldiers at Bagram airbase on Thursday, November 28. It was his first ever visit to the country. Mr. Trump announced that his administration had resumed peace talks with the Taliban insurgents.

He also met with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, at Bagram airbase, a US military base located in the northeastern Parwan province.

Details of the meeting between the two leaders covered by the media suggested that their meeting was mainly focused on the Afghan peace process and negotiations with the Taliban.

In the phone call with Pompeo, Abdullah, however, has also discussed the issue of 2019 Afghan presidential elections which is getting controversial across the country.

Supporters of Abdullah who is said to be the main rival against Ghani in the presidential elections have hitherto launched protests in at least five provinces, including the Afghan capital Kabul, against what they describe as “widespread and systematic fraud” in the election process.

In their latest protest, Abdullah’s supporters took to the streets today, December 03, in the northern Sar-e-Pul province calling the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to invalidate around “300,000 non-biometrically verified and fraudulent votes.”

The IEC has so far reiterated that they would not invalidate votes before completion of the recount and audit process.

As a result of intensified tensions between Abdullah’s ticket and the IEC, acting Afghan defense minister, Assadullah Khalid, and commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan Gen. Scot Miller have recently met with General Abdul Rashid Dostum in Jowzjan province.

Dostum who is the incumbent vice president is an influential figure supporting Abdullah’s ticket in the 2019 presidential elections and plays a key role in the recent election protest held in northern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan presidential polls got controversial between the two same candidates, Ghani and Abdullah, in 2014 as well. As the result of disputes over the election, the IEC could not officially announce the result.

Then US Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a deal between the two rival candidates and created the National Unity Government in which Abdullah was forged as Chief Executive and Ghani as President.