News / Asia

    Taliban Violence Threatens to Disrupt Afghan Vote

    An election poster of presidential candidate Mohammad Daoud Sultanzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 15, 2014.
    An election poster of presidential candidate Mohammad Daoud Sultanzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 15, 2014.
    Ayaz Gul
    Former Afghan defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has dropped out of next month's presidential election, leaving a field of nine candidates to replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai. Wardak announced Sunday he is dropping out of the race but gave no reason for his withdrawal and endorsed no other candidate for the April 5 vote.

    Afghanistan's elections for president and 458 provincial councilors are slated for April 5. But Taliban threats and deadly attacks on campaign workers and election officials have worried local as well as international observers.

    Since the Feb. 2 start of the campaign period, independent monitors from Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan have reported at least seven murders, one assassination attempt and several incidents of election-related violence and intimidation.

    The Taliban insurgency has vowed to “use all force” to disrupt the polls and has warned Afghans not to participate in it.

    Human Rights Watch has criticized as “despicable” and “unlawful” the Taliban’s threat to use violence to prevent voters from choosing a new president. The group has urged Afghan authorities to take all possible steps to protect campaign activities and voters.

    An Afghan interior minister spokesman, Mohamad Najib Nikzad, says the government is fully prepared to organize free and transparent elections. He tells VOA about 400,000 Afghan soldiers and policemen are ready for deployment across the country to deter any threat to the democratic process.

    The spokesman dismissed the Taliban’s threat of violence as propaganda, saying the Afghan government is not concerned and such moves will not prevent it from holding the elections.  He added that only four districts across Afghanistan face serious security threats, but steps are being taken to deal with the challenge.

    While testifying before U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington last week, the top American commander in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, also warned of an increase in the election-related violence, but said physical ability of the Afghan security forces is sufficient to deal with the security challenge.

    “There is no doubt in my mind and that we know this both from our intelligence and from open source that the insurgency is focused on disrupting elections in 2014 and focused on crushing the spirit and will of the Afghan forces in 2014 because they believe that we are leaving at the end of 2014 they look at this as a very critical year," said Dunford. "So, what we expect to see are high-profile attacks to create the perception of insecurity."

    The NATO-led international force will end its combat mission in December.
    The fate of a smaller American military presence in Afghanistan post-2014 remains uncertain because President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement with Washington until certain conditions are met.

    On Sunday, former Afghan defense minister Rahim Wardak said he is withdrawing from the presidential race and will not endorse any other candidate.  He did not give any reason for ending his campaign and was not considered a front runner.

    Earlier this month, the current president’s elder brother Qayyum Karzai announced he was ending his presidential campaign and supporting a former foreign minister, Zalmai Rassoul, who is widely perceived as President Karzai’s favored candidate.

    There are 10 male candidates in the race to replace President Karzai, who is unable to run in next month’s vote due to constitutional term limits. In his last address to the joint session of parliament in Kabul Saturday, the Afghan leader reaffirmed his resolve to hold transparent and free elections

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    March 16, 2014 10:44 PM
    Unless and until Taliban receive heavey punishment for their illegal activities, this type of voilance will never end. First of all they should stop the pipe line from Riyadh to Kabule. Riyadh is the birth place of Taliban. Still Taliban have good relation with Saudia, who is providing finance and weapons. The whole world knows how many saudi pilots were involve in September 2001 attack.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Abeokuta Nigeria
    March 16, 2014 1:11 PM
    President Karzai is and will be Afghan's problem with his full intention to meddle in the country's politics when he's out.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora