While briefing members of the Independent Election commission (IEC) on security of Afghanistan’s upcoming parliamentary and district councils elections on Sunday, deputy minister of interior for security general Murad Ali Murad said that over 1,100 polling stations across the nation face high security threats.
Another 948 polling stations are not under the control of government forces, he said.
According to Murad, there are also problems with the distribution of election materials. He said routes into these areas need to be found.
Meanwhile, officials from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the election management body has started delivering election materials to provincial capitals. IEC also called on security institutions to ensure polling stations are secured.
“These stations either must be changed or operations must be launched, they are included in the Nusrat Operation. Resolute Support Forces will only come to help in an emergency situation,” said Murad.
According to Murad, from the total 7,355 polling stations, 1,122 centers are under medium threat and another 1,120 face more serious security threats – all of which need to secured by the security institutions.
But two weeks ago the IEC said from the total number of 7,300 polling stations, 1,707 centers are under threat in 32 districts with the majority of the polling stations located in Helmand, Uruzgan, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Faryab, and Ghazni among other provinces.
“Packing of material is being done and these will be transferred to the provinces. Based on the procedure, our programs will start soon,” said Abdul Badi Sayyad, chairman IEC.
Wasima Badghisi, IEC operational deputy chief said last week the election management body has taken all necessary steps to ensure elections are held as per scheduled. The original date was July 7 this year but this has been moved to October 21 (29 Meezan 1397).
According to Badghisi, the Afghan government so far has not provided solid assurances about delivering on its promises regarding security for the election.
Based on the electoral calendar, candidates will be able to file their nomination papers on first of Jawza (22 May).
Bringing about reforms in the commission is one key responsibility of the IEC members. In line with this, Badghisi said that at least 14 provincial IEC heads have been in their positions for 14 years and will have to reapply for their positions and that other candidates can also apply.
The IEC is set to start the voter registration process on 14 April. The IEC has hired dozens of employees for this purpose in provinces across Afghanistan.
“The number of districts where the transfer of materials is at risk has increased, we need to find alternative routes for them,” added Murad.
“With the launching of the voter registration process we must retain the trust of the people. There are some people who want to misuse the elections, the employees must be vigilant about it,” said Shahlah Haqparast, acting chief of IEC secretariat.
“The commission will not remain silent if an employee violates the law, they will face legal action,” said IEC administrative board chief Maazullah Dawlati.
The IEC has estimated the budget for the elections to be between $70 million USD and $90 million USD and that the bulk of the money will be covered by the international community.