News

Afghanistan Tries to Assure Voters About Adequate Security on Election Day


Afghanistan's government is trying to assure voters that adequate security is in place for Thursday's national election.  The Taliban vow to disrupt the process by attacking polling stations and retaliating against those who dare to vote. In Kabul, the day before the election, gunmen stormed a bank branch in an attack apparently timed to cause further havoc in the capital.

The Afghan capital, which has seen lethal suicide bombings and mostly harmless rocket attacks in the past week, is under heavy security.

Early on Independence Day Wednesday, a holiday, a trio wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades and AK-47 rifles, stormed a closed bank branch about a kilometer from the Presidential Palace.

Pashtany Bank President Hayat Dayani told VOA the attackers were "real terrorists" who quickly overpowered the guard.

The head of the Interior Ministry's anti-crime unit, General Abdul Jamil Junbish, tells reporters there was a quick response from his forces.

Junbish says his unit and special forces killed three of the "terrorists" and 30 weapons were recovered. He says several policemen were wounded, typical for what he describes as a "battlefield" type of operation.

The Taliban claim responsibility for the attack and promise further violence before and during the election.

The assault comes a day after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laded vehicle into a foreign military convoy, just east of the city.

Officials say eight people died - including a NATO soldier and two United Nations workers - and more than 50 other people were injured, mostly Afghan civilians.

There were scattered reports of lethal attacks elsewhere in the country on officials and others involved with election preparations.

Election officials say, in some remote and insecure areas, Army helicopters are making last-minute deliveries of polling materials.

Chief electoral officer Daoud Ali Najafi has announced the ballots for presidential candidates will be quickly tabulated.

"All of the polling stations, they will count the results of the presidential election on Thursday night," Najafi said.

Preliminary results for the top contest are expected 48 hours after polls close, but the outcomes for the advisory provincial counsels will take longer.

If too many voters are scared away, that could jeopardize the legitimacy of the election, which is already confronting allegations of wholesale vote buying. 

Afghan government officials say four tiers of security are in place for Election Day. The outer rings, in the air and on the ground, are being provided by international forces, to protect the thousands of polling stations, nationwide.

There are about 17 million eligible voters.  At the top of the ballots - the several dozen presidential candidates, some of whom have dropped out and thrown their support to the incumbent, Hamid Karzai.  He leads in polls, but may fall short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff against the number-two finisher.

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