4 October 2004 -- The head of an international observer mission that will monitor Afghanistan's presidential election says his team will not judge the vote by strict international standards.
Robert Barry, head of the group from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said it would be setting the bar too high to ask a country at Afghanistan's level of development to meet international standards for free and fair elections.
Barry said in Kabul that the regulations "are much too demanding," and that in the present situation, when Afghanistan is facing its first presidential election, "that is too fine-toothed a comb to use."
He said that as a result, the OSCE will not issue a statement on the fairness of the presidential poll slated for 9 October.
(AFP)[For more on the Afghan elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated webpage "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05."]