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U.S. Rejects Karzai Election Fraud Allegations

President Hamid Karzai has claimed that UN and EU officials were behind the fraud that marred last August's elections.

The United States has rejected accusations from Afghan President Hamid Karzai that foreigners engaged in fraud in last year's Afghan elections in a bid to weaken his authority and ensure an ineffective Afghan parliament.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the Obama administration does not accept Karzai's judgment.

The U.S. spokesman instead called on the Afghan president to "step forward" and convince the international community and the Afghan people that his officials are taking measurable steps to reduce corruption.

"The [Afghan] people want to see effective government, they want to see government that delivers services to the Afghan people,” Crowley said. “That is what we're interested in, that's why we have the military force levels that we have trying to stabilize Afghanistan, and we have made the civilian commitment to put in place specialists to help grow the capacity of the Afghan government. So we want a strong Afghan government at all levels."

"It's not in anyone's interest to see Afghanistan poorly led or weakly led in the future," Crowley said.

Karzai's charges have also been rejected by Peter Galbraith, the former United Nations deputy head of mission in Afghanistan, who was accused by the Afghan president of engaging in fraud in last August's election.

Galbraith, who is an American, told news agencies that Karzai's allegations were "ludicrous" and "preposterous" and that he questioned Karzai's "connection to reality."

Galbraith added that Afghans had engaged in the fraud that marred the election -- not foreign officials representing the United Nations and European Union, as Karzai has alleged.

Karzai's allegations on April 1 came amid wrangling with Afghan lawmakers and UN officials over whether foreigners will participate in measures aimed at protecting Afghanistan's parliamentary elections from fraud when they are held in September.

Karzai came under international pressure after a UN-backed electoral watchdog threw out a third of the votes cast for him in last year's presidential election due to apparent fraud.

compiled from agency reports