News / Asia

Afghan Run-Off Campaigns Kick Off in Kabul

Afghan election commission worker unloads ballot boxes in Herat Province, west of Kabul, April 20, 2014.
Afghan election commission worker unloads ballot boxes in Herat Province, west of Kabul, April 20, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
The two top vote-getters in the first round of Afghanistan’s presidential election have begun campaigning for the June 14 runoff, which Taliban insurgents have again pledged to disrupt.

Afghanistan is holding a presidential runoff election because none of the eight candidates in the first round of voting, held on April 5, were able to secure more than 50 percent of the vote.

Afghans will now choose between frontrunner Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani to replace President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally barred from a third term in office.

Both presidential hopefuls kicked off their campaign Thursday in Kabul, where Afghan Interior Minister Umar Daudzai told a conference of top police officers that national security forces are “fully prepared” to keep the Taliban from disrupting the crucial polls.

Daudzai also said there were more than a dozen incidents of fraud involving Afghan police officers in the first round, and that the officers were penalized.

The national police force has promised to discourage such incidents in the upcoming vote, he said. “They renewed that pledge that we will remain neutral and we will make sure that we prevent any attempt of fraud to any extent we can do it.”

A Taliban spokesman says the militant group is determined to disrupt the runoff and says insurgents have taken some 27 Afghan policemen hostage after overrunning Yamgan district in northern Badakhshan province earlier this week.

Interior Minister Daudzai confirmed the insurgent activity without giving details.

“I know they captured the district and my advice to them is that they should not," he said. "Nobody would like to capture his own country. If they are Afghans they should not capture Afghanistan and if they are Afghans they should not be proud that [they] captured police. Police is a force that is a servant of all of us, not our enemy. But if they are not Afghans, they will be dealt with accordingly.”

The political transition is taking place in Afghanistan at a time when the U.S.-led military coalition is withdrawing from the country.

The United States wants to maintain a smaller military presence after 2014 to advise and train Afghan forces. But President Karzai has refused to sign a bilateral security pact with Washington to allow the American forces to continue their mission.

Both Abdullah and Ghani have promised to sign the agreement if they win the election. The new president will have to deal with the Taliban insurgency, rampant corruption and declining international financial assistance to protect gains Afghanistan has made over the past decade.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs