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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs