Afghanistan’s election commission said April 6 it backed a decree by President Hamid Karzai that limits foreigners’ role in elections, scoring him another point in a dispute that has put him at odds with Washington. The procedure of how to run the parliamentary election, set for September, has emerged as a major bone of contention in Afghanistan, prompting an anti-Western tirade by Karzai last week that drew a sharp rebuke from the U.S. Holding a free and fair parliamentary election is seen as a crucial test for Afghanistan which is facing a resurgent Taliban, despite the presence of tens of thousands of Western troops, more than eight years since the militants’ removal from power. Karzai gave a speech last week accusing the West of perpetrating election fraud in Afghanistan, and he appeared to go one step further April 5 by singling out the U.S. as specifically to blame. In other news, Afghanistan has called in the help of Interpol to arrest a former minister, suspected of corruption. The Afghan Public Prosecution Office believes Mohammed Sediq Chakari, who was minister of religious affairs for a brief period last year, is in Great Britain. As minister he was in charge of pilgrimages to Mecca. (Reuters, Radio Netherlands)

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