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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs