The British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, reports that early results have Hamid Karzai with 72-per cent of the vote versus just 23-per cent for rival Abdullah Abdullah. Worse yet, most of the votes remaining untallied are from areas of the Pashtun south where Karzai is heavily favoured.
This raises the strong suspicion of massive voting fraud and will certainly be taken that way by anti-Karzai forces.
Karzai warned before the vote that an indecisive first ballot leading to a runoff second ballot election could trigger civil war. This victory, if borne out, could send many of Karzai's enemies into the arms of the insurgency.
A Karzai victory would also consolidate the power of the country's warlords who backed the Afghan president.