The provincial office of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Thursday that 65 voter registration centers have remained closed due to security threats in Paktika province in the southeast of Afghanistan.
The commission’s officials blamed security agencies for not taking any steps to secure the areas under threat in order to reopen the centers.
Paktika has 237 voter registration centers in total, according to the IEC.
Of the insecure areas in Paktika, Giyan district, in the east of the province, has no active voter registration center.
“Sixty-five districts are faced with high security threats. The governor’s office and other relevant offices have started efforts to secure the areas and provide the ground for reopening the centers,” said Bilal Shahbaz, acting head of the IEC in Paktika.
“This is a problem which has been created by security challenges. All the offices in Paktika, the representatives of people, the election office, the Presidential Palace are all working together to overcome this problem. We hope to find a way out for this problem,” said Elyas Wahdat, governor of Paktika.
Some residents of Paktika said a large number of people will not be able to vote in upcoming elections if the centers are not reopened.
“We are ready to ensure the safety of the centers if they are opened. We are ready to register and vote. A big number of people will not be able to vote if the centers remain closed,” said Mohammad Nabi, a resident of Paktika.
“Thousands of people voted in (2014) presidential elections from those areas (in Paktika), but now this large number of people will be deprived of voting. The people’s demand is that we do not want any center closed. Government should ensure the safety of every corner of the province,” said Chinar Gul, a resident of Paktika.
The IEC office in Paktika said that despite the closure of these centers, so far 65,000 people have registered to vote in the province so far and 14 individuals have registered as candidates for the parliamentary and district council elections in the province.