News

ISAF, Afghan Forces Mobilized for Election Day Security

Multimedia

Audio

The Australian military officer responsible for the international effort to help provide security for Thursday's Afghan presidential election says he is concerned about the potential for insurgent attacks on polling stations, but he believes Afghan and international security forces have prepared well to keep violence to a minimum.  The officer spoke via satellite from Kabul to reporters at the Pentagon.

Brigadier General Damian Cantwell says Afghan, NATO and other international forces have been rehearsing their election security plan, and acting out various potential scenarios.  

"We're never quite sure what the enemy will do, but we do have a series of solid plans in place," said General Cantwell.

General Cantwell says Afghan police will be in and around the 6,500 polling stations, Afghan soldiers will man an outer perimeter and ISAF, the International Security Assistance Force, will be nearby to help if needed.  But officials acknowledge attacks by the Taliban and affiliated groups have increased this week to nearly 50 per day nationwide, on average.  General Cantwell acknowledges that is a cause for concern.

"The threat itself might be manifested in its most dangerous form in those sorts of tactics we've seen in suicide bombing in populated areas," he said. "And therefore we're doing everything we can to mitigate against those risks."

The general says the Afghan government and the insurgents are battling for the minds of the Afghan people, with the government trying to instill confidence and convince people to vote, and the insurgents trying to instill fear and keep the people at home on Election Day.

"Obviously those sorts of incidents that occurred today, tragically, and also last Saturday, will probably cause some citizens to have some concerns about moving forward and taking part in the election on the day," said Cantwell. "But this is a very hardy and resilient people.  And they're quite used to hearing and seeing acts of violence.  And they're quite used to seeing checkpoints and roadblocks in place.  It's all understood to be part of the effort by the Afghan security partners to develop a sense of community confidence."

The general predicts that 85 to 90 per cent of Afghan voters should be able to go to the polls, with only those in Taliban-controlled areas missing out.  He says election security is the top priority for international and Afghan forces, and they have decided not to engage in any offensive operations on Thursday in order to make all their forces available.

"The ministers and the senior officers in charge of the ANA [Afghan National Army] and ANP [Afghan National Police] really haven't left much in reserve, so to speak, and they are fully committed to the task that's set before them," he said.

General Cantwell says while Afghan forces have the lead for election security on the ground, ISAF will provide the ability to observe key areas from the air, and to respond quickly to any emergency.  In all, officials say, nearly 300,000 security forces will be involved in the election operation.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs