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Hague insists that British soldiers must not have died for a corrupt Afghan election

William Hague has written a strong piece for the Daily Mail in which he has expanded upon his intervention of yesterday in which he has warned against international acceptance of a corrupt election result in Afghanistan.

The alleged corruption is certainly widespread.  William Hague:

"Votes from 447 polling stations  -  amounting to some 200,000 ballots  -  have already been invalidated 'because of fraud', and there are reports of ghost polling stations, too. The EU's election monitors have confirmed 'large-scale ballot stuffing' at polling stations, including 'hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes accepted at the tally centre and included among the preliminary official results'."

The Shadow Foreign Secretary fears that coalition troops will lose all moral authority in Afghanistan if they are associated with a "rubber stamp [for] disputed election results which disenfranchise sections of the population."  He calls for the Afghan Electoral Complaints Commission to complete its work and for elections to be re-run in parts of the country, if the Commission advises.

The Conservative leadership is well aware that the problem of Afghanistan will be one of the biggest issues in the overflowing Downing Street in-box that it is likely to inherit.  The anti-corruption position taken by William Hague and David Cameron in the last 24 hours signals a new toughness.  It will be interesting to see how they respond to the huge pressure that President Obama is likely to place on Britain for committing more troops.  At the weekend David Davis said we had eighteen months to rescue Afghanistan and every available soldier should be deployed there during that window.

Tim Montgomerie


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