Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at a ceremony in Kabul on Sunday called on members of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to remain impartial in the election, stating that any attempt by these forces to influence the process could have serious repercussions on the credibility and fame of the Afghan security institutions in the public mindset.
“If the security forces interfere in the elections or in a way support a candidate, such a move will affect public trust in these forces,” Abdullah said at the International Police Coordination Board Meeting in Kabul on Sunday.
Mr. Abdullah who also runs for president has been under severe criticism from other presidential candidates over alleged use of government resources for campaign purposes.
“I want to stress on one point. I want to tell the minister of interior, deputy minister of interior for security that keeping the police impartial and dealing with the issue in a professional manner should be your top priority,” Mr. Abdullah said.
This comes as the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) last week warned presidential candidates over “misusing” government resources for election campaign.
Meanwhile, Mr. Abdullah talked about the report on the existence of “ghost soldiers” within the ranks of the ANDSF and said that such an issue has left a negative impact on the prominence of the Afghan forces.
In a report to the US Congress on July 30, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the number of ANDSF troops fell by nearly 42,000 compared to the same period last year.
However, on Saturday, the Ministry of Defense rejected the report by saying that more than 99 members of the Army have been recognized by the biometric system.
The report said that this quarter’s ANDSF strength decreased by 41,777 personnel since approximately the same period in 2018, and by 50,277 compared to about the same period in 2017.
UK Ambassador to Afghanistan, Alison Blake, at the same event, reiterated her country’s longstanding support to Afghan security forces.
“It is a crucial job that the police do, especially at this time of the elections when as others have said and we also share the importance that all the police understand clearly their responsibility to ensure a safe environment,” she said.
Acting Minister of Interior, Massoud Andarabi, said that the Afghan police will remain impartial in the upcoming election.
“Concrete steps have been taken to combat crime and criminal networks and at the same time, we have optimized the structure of criminal investigation directorate to address the arrest warrants of relevant judiciary offices,” Mr. Andarabi said.