London: Just four days after the audit of votes began; Afghanistan has reportedly suspended the process without offering an explanation. The Independent Election Commission (IEC), suspended the audit after both the presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah failed to come to an agreement over the ground rules for the audit.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry had brokered an agreement between the two candidates for an extensive vote audit just a few weeks earlier. The US has now sent its special representative, James Dobbins back to Kabul to end the impasse.
The report however quoted Nader Nadery, who heads the Afghanistan election observer team as stating that the audit may take longer to resume than expected in the wake of continuing disruptions by the two candidates.
Analysts fear that any further delays in the selection of the President of Afghanistan will destabilize the country.
The much-disputed election has seen both the candidates staging walkouts and alleging electoral frauds at several junctures in the process. Meanwhile, Taliban militants have launched a major offensive in the southern province of Helmand.
The 2014 presidential election in Afghanistan is particularly significant in the backdrop of the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country by the end of this year.