Sanitas International is repping Abdullah Abdullah, the leading candidate to succeed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan.
The DC shop is backing the "free and fair" advocacy campaign designed to promote a secure and transparent election.
That fairness goal took a major hit blow following allegations of fraud raised by Abdullah. He believes voter turnout in the second round of election on June 14 was inflated in areas, where his rival Ashraf Ghani enjoys strong support.
On Jun 18, Abdullah charged Ghani and Karzai of committing “industrial scale” voter fraud. He demands an end to the count.
Abdullah, a doctor and former foreign minister of Afghanistan, also claims that a number of his observers were intimidated and roughed up by political opponents. He beat Ghani by a 45 to 32 percent margin in the April vote. Rival candidates withdrew from the race following that tally and endorsed Abdullah.
Pitched as Afghanistan’s first democratic vote in the history, the election is key to continued western support for Afghanistan.
Karzai, who is term-limited, was scheduled to hand over power to his successor on Aug. 2.
The Wall Street Journal reports a political crisis triggered by election fraud could prolong Karzai’s rule for months and derail the bilateral security agreement needed to keep American and other forces in Afghanistan beyond December, which is when the current mandate expires.