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KABUL: The Afghan government stressed that it will not accept foreigners on a key election watchdog ahead of 2014 presidential elections, a move that may undermine the credibility of the poll.
President Hamid Karzai last week said the presence of foreigners in the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) went against the “sovereignty” of Afghanistan, hinting that two foreigners on the five-member body may be removed.
“The membership of (the) two foreign nationals... goes against Afghanistan’s national constitution,” Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said on Wedensday.
He added that foreigners were still welcome as election monitors but the government was able to ensure the poll was fair.
The 2014 vote coincides with the departure of Nato-led troops and the international community view the election as one of the last major hurdles before the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces.
“The transparency and credibility of the elections are of paramount importance” for Nato, its spokesman in Afghanistan, Dominic Medley, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Karzai was re-elected in a second post-Taliban poll in 2009 amid allegations of widespread voting irregularities, and will complete his term next year (2014).
The International Crisis Group think tank warned this month that the Kabul government could fall apart after Nato troops withdraw, particularly if the 2014 presidential elections are plagued by fraud.
But Afghan officials dismissed the report, insisting that the government was committed to free and fair elections.