The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday raised concerns about the high number of polling stations in the country that could face serious security threats during elections.
As such he called on security institutions to help ensure security was maintained at these polling stations.
Polling stations that could be at risk are in at least 32 districts and will need to be safeguarded, the IEC’s operational deputy chief Wasima Badghisi said.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also raised the issue of elections during his speech at the opening of parliament in Kabul on Wednesday and said elections need to be held as scheduled.
Ghani said that in doing its work, the (IEC) needs to remain neutral and immune to political interference.
“The holding of parliamentary and presidential elections at the given time is inevitable,” Ghani said.
According to the IEC, 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 while some others are in other provinces.
“There are centres across the country. These centres also existed during previous elections and there is a need to ensure security of these polling stations,” said Badghisi.
Ghani on Wednesday meanwhile also promised to help prevent any interference in the electoral commission.
“To avoid any misunderstanding in the internal affairs of the commission, myself, Dr. Abdullah and Sarwar Danish, have avoided any individual visits to the electoral commissions and members,” Ghani said.
According to the IEC, the election management body will undertake systematic reforms in the electoral bodies.
The IEC officials have said the chiefs of 14 IEC provincial headquarters will be appointed transparently and will sit exams.
But, election monitoring groups have accused the election commission of not having the enough capacity to properly manage the process.
“We still do not know the exact date of elections, the management is not good; all affairs are conducted by the commission in an imaginary way,” said Yusuf Rashid, Executive Director at Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA)
The election commission has scheduled parliamentary and district council elections for July 7 of this year. However, the IEC has said that holding the elections as scheduled would be dependent on security and funding.