The Ministry of Interior said Saturday that over 50,000 security forces will be deployed to 5,100 polling centers across the country next Saturday to maintain election security.
According to the MoI, these security forces will start deployment from Sunday.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said they have decided on using 50,000 security forces to maintain election security adding that they can increase the number if needed.
“In order to maintain security on election day, we have considered over 50,000 security forces. But in case more are needed, the number of forces will change,” said Danish.
Danish said polling centers in 19 districts are facing high security threats adding that security forces will do their best to safeguard the lives of the people.
“Security threats existed before and still exist. Operations have been launched to address these threats and now polling centers in 19 districts across the country are facing high threats,” Danish added.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) meanwhile urged security departments to ensure security on election day.
IEC spokesman Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said security departments should ensure people’s safety to help them vote in a safe environment.
“In the last three months, the voter registration process was launched in 5,000 centers and security forces have said they will maintain security at these centers. If any changes happen in securing these centers, security departments should brief us,” Hashemi said.
A number of institutions overseeing the election process meanwhile said an increase of insecurity in a number of provinces ahead of the upcoming elections will be a big challenge for security forces.
“If security forces fail to maintain security of polling centers, then it will be very difficult to have a transparent and inclusive election,” Baryalai Haqjo, program manager at Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan said.
Election Materials Sent to Provinces
The IEC said sensitive election material has been sent to all 31 provinces, except Kabul and Maidan Wardak provinces. From these provincial centers, the material will be sent to polling stations on Friday - a day before election day.
The commission said they are ready for the October 20 elections, but said not all staff have yet been trained on how to use the biometric devices.
“Voter lists and biometric devices, except Kabul and Maidan Wardak, have arrived in 31 provinces across the country. By the end of the day, the voter lists and devices will be sent to Kabul and Maidan Wardak provinces as well,” Hashemi said.
Election watchdog organizations however said the upcoming parliamentary elections will be full of challenges.
The organizations said the training process for all 27,000 IEC employees who will use the biometric devices on election day has not yet been completed and that the shortage of technical staff and security threats are the challenges facing the elections.
“If the problems increase by more than 50 percent, it will create a challenge,” Yusuf Rasheed, executive director of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan said.
October 20 elections will be held in 27,000 polling stations, 5,100 polling centers in 33 of 34 provinces.