The European Union and the UK have reaffirmed their support to the Afghan presidential elections scheduled to take place on 28 September amid hopes and skepticisms in the view of a possible peace deal between the US and the Taliban and a week after the hardline group warned members of the public to avoid attending election campaign gatherings as they have ordered their fighters to target campaign rallies throughout the country.
But on Thursday, the UK government announced a financial package of £8 million to the Afghan election process, saying the financial contribution was aimed to further develop democratic process in Afghanistan.
The British embassy in Kabul in a statement said that the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) will make available up to £8 million to the UN Electoral Support Program, which provides technical support to Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Bodies and this also includes a planned contribution of £4 million to support preparations for the Presidential election.
British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Alison Blake said that the new aid package is aimed to support Afghanistan’s democratic process, adding that her government was firmly committed to help the Afghans determine the future of their country through ballots.
“I am pleased that through this contribution the UK can continue to support Afghanistan’s democratic process. The UK strongly supports elections in Afghanistan in order that the Afghan people can have their rightful say in the future of their country,” she said.
The statement reads that the UK reiterates the importance of credible Presidential elections taking place.
Timely elections are another step towards a more stable and democratic future for Afghanistan, reads the statement.
I welcome the Afghan Government’s own financial commitments to the electoral process, which is key to long term sustainability, as well as the contributions from the international community.”
British govt has also raised hope that the election is conducted in a fair manner, without interference of government officials or the use of state resources to benefit particular candidates.
In addition the EU delegation in Afghanistan has also voiced support to the elections to be held on the specific timeline, saying the elections were about choosing between candidates and defending the values.
“Presidential election is about choosing between candidates & also about defending values. September 28 will be the occasion for Afghan people to express support to democracy & consolidate legitimacy of political leadership,” EU mission tweeted.
The Afghan presidential election is scheduled for September 28. Eighteen candidates are running for president, including the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.