Thousands Rally In Kabul To Condemn Electoral 'Fraud'

KABUL -- Thousands of supporters of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have marched in Kabul in a rally the organizers said was aimed at condemning and preventing electoral fraud.

Large crowds of people, including women, marched from different parts of the capital before gathering in central Pashtunistan Square in front of the Presidential Palace, despite an earlier warning from the city police not to rally near the site.

Abdullah's Stability and Convergence Team, the organizer of the rally, demands the Independent Election Commission (IEC) annul about 300,000 votes the group deems "fraudulent."

Protest leaders said they will organize more rallies if their demands are not met.

A statement read at the gathering called for the international community and the IEC to hear the "people's voice."

"We will defend their rights," it added.

Two months after the September 28 presidential election, preliminary results have still not been announced by the IEC. The announcement of the election results has been postponed at least twice, fueling allegations of fraud and more uncertainty in the war-torn country.

A vote recount has been delayed by members of Abdullah's campaign team who have shut down election centers in several provinces.

The delay marks a further blow to an already delayed tally in a crucial election for the South Asian country as it tries to quell multiple insurgencies, with the help of U.S. and other foreign troops, and recover from decades of conflict.

The election was mired by record-low turnout and bickering between the incumbent, President Ashraf Ghani, and his main election rival, Abdullah.