News / Asia

Taliban Threats Shutter Hundreds of Afghan Voting Centers

Security personnel investigate the site of a suicide attack that struck the convoy of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, June 6, 2014.
Security personnel investigate the site of a suicide attack that struck the convoy of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, June 6, 2014.
Hundreds of voting centers in Afghanistan, mostly in the country's volatile south and east, will be closed due to security concerns as Afghans head to the polls for Saturday's presidential runoff.

Some 6,300 polling stations, most of them segregated for male and female voters, will be open as presidential frontrunners Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, former foreign minister and anti-Taliban figure, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, former finance minister and World Bank official, seek to clinch the country's top office. The runoff follows first round election on April 5, in which Abdullah claimed 45 percent of the vote and Ghani secured 31.56 percent.

According to Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), more than 800 voting centers will be shut in Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, Urozgan, Ghazni, Nooristan, Nangarhar, Farah, Badghis, Kunar, Jozjan, Ghor, Saripol and Badakhshan provinces. IEC officials tell VOA Dari Service that although the overwhelming majority of these voting centers are closed due to Taliban threats, some stations have been shuttered due to non-security reasons such as geographic inaccessibility.

The Taliban have repeatedly warned that fighters and suicide attackers will target anyone involved in the electoral process, calling the entire election "illegitimate" and staged by Western powers to install a puppet leader. In addition to attacking IEC offices, insurgents last week bombed Abdullah's convoy as it moved between campaign events in Kabul, killing 12 people including several civilians.

Charges of Pashtun marginalization

According to Ghani spokesman Abbas Noyan, many of the more than 800 defunct voting centers are in Pashtun areas where Ghani defeated his first round rivals.

"We're seriously concerned about the closure of these voting centers because they're mostly in provinces where the majority of voters support us," he said. "If these voting centers remain closed, some 300,000 of our supporters will be deprived from a process which has to be inclusive and nationwide."

Ghani's campaign officials have lodged complaints with the IEC and asked President Hamid Karzai to consider opening some of these centers, but the requests have not been granted.

Fazlrahman Orya, a spokesman for Abdullah's camp, said polling must not take place in insecure areas.

"Where there is no security there should be no voting," Orya told VOA Dari, adding that polling without security would be fraudulent.

Jed Ober, director of programs at Democracy International, said closing down voting centers in insecure areas is categorized as a "fraud-preventing" measure.

"The decision to close a polling station should be based solely on whether or not that station can be secured so that voters can safely participate free from violence and intimidation," Ober said.
  • A man loads ballot boxes and other election material onto a donkey to be transported to polling stations not accessible by road, in Shutul, Panjshir province, June 13, 2014. 
  • A man walks with a donkey loaded with ballot boxes and other election material to be transported to polling stations not accessible by road in Shutul, Panjshir province, June 13, 2014.
  • A woman walks past a mural to support voting in Kandahar, south of Kabul, June 13, 2014. 
  • Afghan election workers in a warehouse carry ballot boxes and election materials, in Kabul, June 13, 2014. 
  • Afghan police and soldiers guard checkpoints at almost every intersection, searching vehicles and frisking drivers in a massive security operation ahead of elections, Kabul, June 13, 2014. 
  • With fears for violence high during the presidential election, Afghanistan National Army soldiers stand alert, in Herat, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014.

     
  • A female police officer, in blue burqa, searches female passengers at a checkpoint in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 13, 2014. 
  • Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai speaks during his last campaign rally in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 11, 2014.
  • Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, center, with his allies, raises his arm during his last campaign rally in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 11, 2014.

No 'winner-take-all' outcome

While analysts say the candidates are currently locked in a statistical dead heat, the country's election laws say runoff results must declare one candidate victorious.

The United Nations and the U.S. have called on both candidates to refrain from fraud and support the country's fledging electoral institutions.

"It is our fervent hope that the two candidates, with the future of their country in their hands at this unprecedented time, will not seek a winner-take-all outcome," James Cunningham, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, said on Wednesday.

Both candidates have also been called upon to accept the final results of the election and avoid plunging the country into a political and constitutional crisis if he is not declared the winner.

"Act responsibly, not only as politicians, but as citizens of this country," Jan Kubis, the UN envoy in Afghanistan, said in a statement addressed at the two candidates.

Despite prior security threats, almost 7 million Afghans, 36 percent of them female, turned out for April's inconclusive first-round election.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mao Trach Dong from: Kethang Campuchia
June 14, 2014 11:35 AM
China train Afganistan become genocide century xxi

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid