All Updates and Live Reporting Across Afghanistan
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) has said that tens of terrorist attacks on polling centers have been thwarted in all across the country.
NDS in reaction to the Taliban’s statements and threats said that with the joining of electoral process, the people have shown that they want a strong elected government.
According to NDS, the electoral process national and defense security forces in joint effort along with NDS forces have launched 16 operations in the center and suburbs of Kabul city which as a result, 14 Taliban insurgents who attempted to disrupt the election process were arrested.
“NDS forces also conducted 13 operations in Logar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Balkh, Herat, Kunar, Helmand and Khost provinces that killed 34 Taliban insurgents, wounded 14 and arrested four others. They also seized a large number of arms and weapons”, NDS said.
Polling centers in Afghanistan presidential election closed in the country on Saturday amid fears, insecurity and accusations that voting was flawed.
The polls opened at 07:00am local and closed at 05:00pm.
Security has been tightened across the country, with tens of thousands of troops and police deployed to guard polling stations.
Preliminary results are not expected before Oct. 17 and final results not until Nov. 7. If no candidate gets 51% of the vote, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.
The Taliban, which has been waging a war demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country following its 2001 overthrow by US-led forces, has previously denounced the election as a “sham”.
Local officials in Ghazni province said that of the 406 polling centers in the province, 233 were opened to voters today.
The head of Ghazni provincial council, Nasir Ahmad Faqiri told Reporterly that people’s participation was very low compared to the previous elections.
Faqiri noted that the people’s low turnout was due to the security situation.
“Around eight to nine mortar rounds hit parts of the Ghazni city which as a result, one child and a police were wounded in the incident”, Faqiri added.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that presidential election was not held in Dai Mirdad district of Maidan Wardak province due to the security problems today.
AIHRC stated that election was held in Hesa-e Awal and Hesa-e Dowom districts of Bihsud, but people’s turnout has been reported low.
Meanwhile, the Reporterly correspondent in Nirkh district declared that clashes were ongoing in some parts of the district and firing are sporadically audible.
According to the reporter, the Nirkh district has ten polling centers four of which are dedicated to women.
“The women polling centers had no votes until now and the men’s votes were too limited,” the reporter added.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that prisoners in provinces such as Kabul, Bamyan and Faryab have been deprived to cast their votes.
The AIHRC said that election has not been held in Bamyan prison.
The Bamyan prison warden said that the ID cards of only three men and women inmates were stamped with electoral stickers and yet the prisoners were not eligible to cast their votes.
AIHRC stated that there have been neither the program to stamp election stickers on ID cards of 500 prisoners nor polling centers to be allocated for them.
“The election materials were not transferred and no election have been held in Pul-e-Charki prison in which there are around 11000 prisoners,” AIHRC added.
The commission said that no elections have been held in Kabul’s women prison and detention center where around 250 female inmates held.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has urged all parties to the election and conflict to permit a free, fair and safe election so that all Afghans may exercise their constitutional right to vote.
AIHRC in a press release said that the commission has serious concern that the biometric system may not function due to disruption of the telecommunication system.
“AIHRC observers will be monitoring the process in 23 provinces across the country, working with civil society to record complaints, and expects to receive reports of inconsistencies from other provinces,” the press release said.
According to the press release, AIHRC observers are monitoring issues such as: whether polling stations open on time, that staff are properly trained, that voting materials such as voter lists and correct ink are available, whether there is intimidation from other observers, monitors, staff or voters, that the biometric system function and any other inconsistencies.
“AIHRC staff will be working closely with civil society and other observer groups to ensure complaints of inconsistencies are recorded. Observers help to improve the transparency and accountability of the election process”, the press release added.
Officials in the Independent Election Commission (IEC) says of the 4,942 polling centers, 4500 centers are open and connections have lost to the remaining centers due to the outage of communication networks.
The spokesman of IEC, Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi in a press conference said that the mentioned centers are located in 31 provinces.
Local officials in Ghor province say the people’s turnout is extremely low due to fear of security incidents, even the Independent Election Commission (IEC) employees are waiting for voters at the polling centers.
“The people’s participation is low at two polling centers which includes 8 election sites in Feroz Koh city, the capital of Ghor province, as sporadic attacks are underway in some parts of the province” Reporterly’s correspondent said.
According to the reporter, the telecom networks are not properly working in the districts except the capital.
“People’s turnout namely women is low and since 08:00 AM only 1 woman and 15 men had casted their votes in a polling center in Poza Lech high school”, he added.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) extended the voting process for two hours.
IEC Chairperson, Hawa Alam Nuristani in a press conference said that the voting time is extended for two hours and the voting will end at 05:00PM.
Abdul Ur-Rahman Nang, IEC commissioner said that there are currently 4,500 polling centers open in all across the country.
Earlier the commission said that in total of 5373, 4041 polling centers are open.
NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, Nicholas Kay has hoped for Afghan people to have the chance to vote in security and peace.
“I hope that all Afghans today will have the chance to vote in peace and security, and I praise the efforts of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” Nicholas Kay said.
He condemned Taliban’s violence in all across Afghanistan.
“There is violence in the country, and I condemn the Taliban for the violence conducting,” he added.
Afghanistan’s presidential elections began this morning amidst massive security measures.
At least 100,000 Afghan soldiers were deployed, while US air force is offering its support to monitor polling stations.
“I hope that all Afghans today will have the chance to vote in peace and security, and I praise the efforts of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,” #NATO SCR @NicholasK111
said today while visiting polling stations in #Kabul. pic.twitter.com/5z4FqvqJrA
— Reporterly (@Reporterlyaf) September 28, 2019
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said that the polling centers will remain open until the last voter cast the vote.
Addressing a press conference, IEC Chairperson Hawa Alam Nurestani said,” we still have time and people can cast votes, our observers say the number of voters is huge so far.”
She also expressed satisfaction regarding the process, calling on people to participate in the election.
Meanwhile, IEC commissioner Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah said that there is a possibility of an extension for voting past 3pm deadline.
“The number of those voted in elections will be released at the end of the day, the turnout is on rise,” he said.
In total, 464 polling centers are closed in 17 provinces, including 33 centers which are closed due to lack of election materials, Mohammad Abdullah added.
The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) said that 62 percent of polling centers opened at 07:00AM and the remaining 38 percent faced delay in opening.
TEFA in a report stated that the commission started monitoring from the opening process of polling centers in 34 provinces of the country with 5,200 independent and neutral observers at 06:30AM.
“The Independent Election Commission (IEC) opened 98 percent of the polling centers in 34 provinces of the country and security forces had presence in 99.5 percent of the centers”, the report said.
TEFA noted that 99.8 percent of the IEC employees present at the polling centers on time and the candidates’ representatives, political parties and monitoring institutions were present in 93 percent of the polling centers.
The observing institution consider the main reasons for delay in opening of the polling centers as lack of the IEC staffs, problems and security threats, lack of enough electoral materials.
TEFA reported that women had low presence in Khost, Paktia, Jawzjan, Ghazni, Nimroz, Paktia, Badakhshan, Kabul, Takhar, Farah, Kandahar and Sar-e Pul provinces.
TEFA called the biggest challenge of election are the voters’ lists and the biometric systems which around 88 percent of the polling stations in 34 provinces faced the same problem and people could not cast their votes.
The United Kingdom’s deputy ambassador, Giles Lever in his visit from a polling center in Kabul hoped that new technical measures will reduce for presidential election.
As per 1TV report, Giles Lever said, “A lot of technical measures have been taken or improved upon since the 2014 elections and since the 2018 parliamentary elections which we hope will significantly reduce the potential for fraud.”
He said that the UK was assisting with 8 million pounds to support the elections process.
“We have no interest in spending our money to support a fraudulent process,” the diplomat said. “We want to see a clean, credible, fair and transparent process.”
Lever also condemned Taliban threats against Afghan election as despicable.
The polling centers in Safa city, the center of Zabul province were opened with delays due to the security threats, local officials told Reporterly.
According to the officials, one of the polling center which has a distance of 4km from the city has finished electoral materials and it may continue the voting process after materials arrived.
The officials further added that the women employees of election commission are present at the polling centers in Zabul, but no woman has been seen to participate in the voting process so far.
The Presidential candidate, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has casted his vote as his ID card has not been stamped with election sticker.
According to the electioprocedure, the votes of those whose ID card has not been stamped with sticker are not valid and cannot be counted.
In the meantime, the first deputy of State Builder electoral team, Amrullah Saleh was also unable to cast his vote since his ID card was burned in a suicide bombing in his office.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said that those people who are not able to find their names in the voters’ list can vote by entering the serial number of their ID cards’ sticker in the biometric devices.
“People can ask election employees to enter the serial number of their stickers’ in biometric devices and register their votes,” IEC officials said.
The election commission emphasized that this issue has already been shared with the commission’s staffs to instruct the people with this problem.
This comes as a number of polling centers across the country including Kabul, Ghazni and Mahmood Raqi city, the capital of Kapisa province complained that the voters’ lists have been sent incorrectly.
“Those whose names are not in the paper lists but are in biometric system can vote and those whose names are not in biometric system but are on paper lists can also vote”, IEC commissioner, Muhammad Abdullah added.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has said that the primary findings of the commission indicate that the election started with a delay in some provinces of the country.
AIHRC in a statement said the commission’s monitoring sources’ find that a number of explosive attacks including missiles firings have been taken place in Kunduz, Kandahar, Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Bamyan, Helmand, Kunar, Kabul, Laghman and Faryab. However, the security situation of Herat, Balkh and Daikundi reported normal.
According to AIHRC, the complaints over election commission’s performance have been reported as the staff’s unfamiliarity with the use of election tools and the electoral staffs’ late coming were said to be as the main problems.
The commission noted that the women’s presence in voting process were more in Daikundi, Bamyan and Herat provinces.
AIHRC added the inadequate shutdown of telecommunications networks in the northern provinces, as well as Nimroz, Badghis and Farah, have caused communication problems and in Herat and Faryab provinces, the monitoring has faced difficulties due to the power outages.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Moheb has assured the safety of people on Election Day, saying the process will be concluded in a safe environment today.
Moheb declared that no security incident has taken place so far, but Taliban are attempting to create terror and fears among people.
As per Tolo News report, the deputy spokesman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) Zabih Sadat says the electoral materials have not been sent to more than 200 polling centers so far.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) September 28, 2019
The voters in Ghazni province complaint that they were unable to cast their votes due to problems in the voters lists.
Reporterly correspondent reported that a voters list has been mistikanely sent at Alberony school in Naw Abad area of Ghazni and 25 people were unable to cast their vote at Khatam Al Anbiya mosque of the city.
Reports also suggest voters’ lists problem in Qala Shada school of Ghazni city and some people cannot cast their votes.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah cast his vote in Presidential election at a polling center in Nadria high school today in Kabul.
Abdullah emphasized on the transparency of election and urged the government employees to not interfere in the election process.
CE Abdullah praised Afghan security forces’ efforts in safeguarding the election during campaigns and today.
“Taliban should know that threatening innocent people does not show the power and killing people would have no benefit for them,” he said.
Abdullah also called on all government institutions and the election commissions, to respect people’s sacrifices, appreciate their strong wills, and prevent fraud.
All polling centers started operating at 7:00 AM without any problem in Daikundi province, local officials said.
The provincial governor press office said that 26 polling centers are active in Nili, the center of Daikundi and 274 centers in all across the province.
The Presidential candidate, Rahmatullah Nabil casts his vote in Presidential election at a polling center in Shash Darak area of Kabul city.
Nabil called on Afghan people to have widespread participation in the election and make a correct decision about their future and the country.
One polling center is closed out of 9 centers in Nara district due to security problems and reporters are not present in Ghazi Abad district pf Kunar province due to the security threats, the Reporterly provincial corespondent said.
According to the correspondent, the presence of women is more than men in Nara district.
“Most of the centers are open in Khwaja Abad district but the reporters could not go to Ghazi Abad due to threats”, the reporter added.
The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) findings indicate that some polling centers in a number of provinces such as Nangarhar, Kunar, Khost and Kunduz have been opened with delays.
According to FEFA findings, the electoral materials have not been transferred to some polling stations in Zabul and Kunduz provinces.
“The biometric system for a voter takes up to five to eight minutes each,” FEFA finds.
The monitoring institution also stated that some polling centers in Kabul also face serious problems in biometric system and voters lists.
The US embassy in Kabul in a tweet has announced support to Afghan voters.
“We stand with voters across Afghanistan who goes to the polls today to strengthen their democracy in the face of threats and hardships,” the embassy said.
The US embassy stressed that through voting, Afghan citizens are the power in the Afghan Elections.
We stand with voters across #Afghanistan who go to the polls today to strengthen their democracy in the face of threats and hardships. Through their vote, citizens are the power in the #AfghanElections.
— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) September 28, 2019
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at a polling center in Amani High School said that the continuation of the republic is possible only through elections.
After casting his vote, President Ghani declared that during the election campaigns, most of the people killed in Parwan, Kandahar and Helmand provinces who were related to State-Builder electoral team.
He praised the participation of candidates in election and said, “Participating in the election means giving respect to Afghanistan’s constitution.”
Ghani thanked the monitoring, observing institutions and media outlets for playing a key role in preventing fraud in the election.
He further added that fraud in the election is a crime and people can register their compliants to the Independent Electoral Compliants Commission (IECC).
The voting process has still not started in three polling centers in Balkh due to the absentees of election commission’s staffs.
Reporterly correspondent in Balkh said that the three polling stations are in Estiqlal school, Rawshana Balkh School and Yolmarb Mozakir school.
Balkh is among the provinces with the highest closed polling centers which of 315 voting centers, 158 of them are open and 157 centers are closed in 9 districts due to the security threats.
The voting process has been started at the polling stations in the center of Peshengar in Nara district of Kunar province, according to Reporterly correspondent in the province.
The reporter stated that at least nine polling stations are active in the Nara district and only one station is under security threat.
He stressed that the women’s presence are more than men at the polling centers of the district.
The Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah cast his vote in Presidential ballot at a polling center in Naderia High School in Kabul on Thursday.