Mr. Zeb acknowledged delays, but said the commission was still trying to stay on schedule.
“If we miss the timeline, it will only be for making sure the results are transparent and accurate,” he said.
The United Nations, as well as almost all major embassies in Kabul, has urged the candidates to allow the election commission time to complete its work.
The election, held as the Taliban launched hundreds of attacks around the country, had a low turnout of about 2.7 million voters. But many observers were skeptical of even that figure and suggested it was probably much lower. Estimates by election officials and candidates, based on an initial assessment of result sheets, suggest at least 20 to 30 percent of the vote could be thrown out because of stuffed ballots.
In some districts, despite security forces bringing election materials and ballot boxes, voters couldn’t leave their homes to cast their vote.
“About 20 army tanks, in a large convoy, brought the ballot boxes for voting,” said Sayed Mahmod, the district governor of Almar in northern Faryab province, where much of the area is under Taliban control. “After Election Day, the same convoy took the ballot boxes, safe and sound and empty, back to the provincial center.”
For the first time the election commission has set up an online platform where all candidates have access to the same result sheets sent from polling stations around the country.
While many of those result sheets are inflated with ballot stuffing, the candidates also have other data at their disposal to help them estimate their standing. Based on these estimates, both Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah’s camps say they have won in the first round, indicating margins could be so small that the election commission’s accuracy takes center stage.