Presidential candidates’ campaign supporters are preventing the Independent Election Commission’s vote recount in nine provinces in northern and northeastern Afghanistan by holding protests and blocking doors at provincial offices of the Independent Election Commission, said sources from Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team.
This follows IEC Chief Hawa Alam Nuristani’s announcement on Saturday that the Independent Election Commission would restart the vote recount on Sunday at 8,255 polling stations across Afghanistan.
The recount was paused midweek, but the IEC decided to push on despite the dissent of many candidates, including Abdullah Abdullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Rahmatullah Nabil and the Council of Presidential Candidates, who oppose the IEC’s validation of 300,000 disputed votes.
In one case, the supporter of a campaign team “forcibly” entered an IEC office on Monday in the northeastern province of Badakhshan and prevented the local election workers from performing the recount, a local IEC worker reported to TOLOnews.
A video sent to TOLOnews showed Afghan security forces arriving at this IEC office in response to the protesters. Such interventions by the security forces have been denounced by members of the candidates’ teams as a misuse of the military.
“Security forces should not interfere. You witnessed that the security forces came here while they should have been used on the battlefield, not here,” said Abdulhai Rahmani, head of Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team in Samangan province.
“This act by the commission was reckless. Such an act can take us towards a crisis,” said Human Jariri, an observer from Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s campaign team, speaking of the involvement of the security forces.
A member of Abdullah Abdullah’s Stability and Convergence campaign team said their supporters have closed IEC offices in Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Samangan, Balkh, Sar-e-Pul, Jawzjan and Faryab provinces.
“We will continue our civic movement if the legitimate demands of the people are not addressed by the election commission,” said Abdul Aziz Noori, a protestor.
“We closed the IEC office in Faryab….but it was opened…they did the recount of votes from eight polling stations,” said Mohammad Hashim, a protestor.