The Independent Election Commission's (IEC) Secretariat Chief, Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, announced his resignation on live television on Monday afternoon.
The announcement came just a day after presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah released phone recordings of conversations allegedly between Amarkhail and members of the campaign team of his opponent, Ashraf Ghani Amadzai. The recordings suggest a broad plot to conduct fraud during the runoff election, however, the voices on them have yet to be confirmed.
Announcing his resignation at a press conference alongside IEC Chairman Ahmed Yousuf Nuristani, Amarkhail claimed his decision was not forced and was not made in light of the recordings. He claimed the phone taps were fake and that he had never had those conversations.
"I have not resigned under the pressure of anyone," Amarkhail said. "I have only resigned for the sake of the process and national interests."
Amarkhail "strongly rejected" the accusations again him, and said there had been a longstanding conspiracy to try to oust him from the IEC. He claimed he had rejected many bribes.
Nuristani expressed support for Amarkhail and said the commission regretted his resignation. He affirmed his belief that Amarkhail is an honest, talented "patriot".
Meanwhile, at his own press conference, Abdullah responded positively to the announcement of Amarkhail's resignation. He indicated that relations between he and his campaign with the election commission would be normalized.
Abdullah denied that his demands earlier this week to see Amarkhail suspended and for the vote counting process to stop were a strategy of exerting power over the process. He said his only concern was the integrity of the election.