Laghman province is one of the 33 provinces in Afghanistan in which, the security forces are trying to ensure the security of the province so that its residents can come to the polling stations and vote in all areas.
Although the province faces security threats as well as cases of electoral fraud, local authorities have been trying to hold the parliamentary election on 20 October without any hiccups by using propermeasures and programs.
The eastern province of the country has a population of 1 million, but it has had the least participation in the registration process. On the other hand, Laghman has 33 parliamentary candidates, out of which only 4 will be elected.
There are a number of different figures provided by the local officials regarding the registered voters.
The participation of people in the process of voter registration reaches 170,840 people in Laghman, according to Nooruddin Fetrat, who has been recently appointed as the head of Laghman Provincial Election Commission.
But Laghman’s provincial police chief, in a conversation with Khabarnama expressed, “170,469 people participated in the registration process out of which 1 individual was from the Sikh community and 4,730 people from Kuchi community.”
“The participation of people in the registration process went so well, there were not any considerable problems, and 170,000 voters got registered,” said Laghman Police spokesman, Asadullah Dawlatzai.
However, the statistics reported by the election commission show different figures: 163,708 voters got registered in the province, of which 52,999 are women, and 119,780 other men are men.
Security the Biggest Hurdle
Laghman MP, Naqibullah Mohib, told Khabarnama that there were no serious problems during the voter registrations and distribution of Tazkira in the province, and the only problem was the lack of security in some areas of the province: “Laghman also has security problems which the security forces are seeking to resolve. ” he said.
“There are indeed some security problems.There have been threats from the insurgents in the province warning that they will not allow the elections to be held, and a number of polling stations are blocked. ” he added.
Mr. Mohib noted that the polling stations located along the asphalted roads where the government can reach in Alingar and Alisheng districts are active, issues such as the closure of polling stations, are likely to happen in these areas as well.
According to Mr Mohib, on the election day, the only area where people can go and vote is Mehtarlam city, which lies at the center of Baghlan, and Qarghai district.
But in response to these claims, Laghman Police Chief Abdul Rauf Urozgani, said that no serious problem in Laghman province will threaten the election: “Security problems are an issue everywhere in Afghanistan and we will try to eliminate them.”
However, citizens of Laghman province haveexpressed that the security situation in the province is rather alarming: “No candidate can freely hold their programs and meetings, and they need to take care of their own security so that they can mitigate any threats from the insurgents.”
The citizens count the security challenges as one of the main reasons why people in densely populated areas of the province did not have a significant participation in the voter registration process.
The districts of Alingar, Alisheng, Dawlatshah and other areas of Laghman are under high security alert, and in these areas, only 50% of the voter registration process has been conducted.
18 Centers Blocked
According to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), 123 polling stations have been allotted for Laghman province, but local authorities say that only 79 centers have beenestablished in the province, of which 61 are open and ready for election, and 18 other centers are closed and under the control of armed insurgents.
But the head of the Laghman Provincial Election Commission told Khabarnama that according to the report of IEC, 123 polling stations in this province have been established out of which, 79 are active centers. In areas such as Dawlatshah, Alisheng and Alingar,the voter registration process has been carried out partially because some areas in these districts have been in the control of armed opposition.
Laghman MP, Naqibullah Mohib, informed Khabarnama that the registration process has not been carried out in all districts of the province, except for the center of Laghman and one other district with tight security.
“Altogether, there are 79 polling stations in the province, based on IEC assessment in the districts, 61 stations are open and face no problem, but 18 other stations are under security threats,” Laghman Police Chief, Abdul Rauf Urozgani, said during an interview with Khabarnama.
The Police Chief has ensured that they will try to make those 18 other polling stations operational on election day, while according to the head of the Laghman Election Commission, Nooruddin Fitrat, the voter registration itself has not taken place in the areas where the centers were closed.
The head of the Provincial Commission for the Election Commission in Laghman said: “Apart from the security problem, there is no other problem in this province. The election commission staffs have been selected through an entrance exam, and other staff will be appointed from amongst the school teachers.”
“All the electoral resources have reached Laghman and the balloting will be carried out using biometric devices. We confirm that we have received these devices as well.”