In a press release by the UNAMA on Tuesday, it was pointed out that a special report was released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) which has found the “deliberate campaign of violence and intimidation conducted by the Taliban to disrupt parliamentary elections, including attacks against civilians and civilian objects, resulting in record high numbers of civilians killed and injured on an election day. “
The report is titled “2018 Elections Violence” and describes the trajectories of 20 October and subsequent days when delayed polling took place. UNAMA verified 435 civilian casualties (56 deaths and 379 injured), and most civilian casualties occurred on 20 October, with 388 civilian casualties (52 deaths and 339 injured) from election-related violence concluding that this was the highest level of civilian violence on electoral proceedings, “The level of civilian harm linked to parliamentary elections is particularly high compared to previous election cycles when factoring into account the deaths and injuries resulting from electoral-related violence experienced over the preceding months during the voter registration and campaigning periods.”
Activities of various “Anti-Government Elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and populated civilian areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres” were acknowledged in the report. The statement by UNAMA added that the attacks were “mainly carried out using indirect-fire systems such as rockets, grenades and mortars, as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), all of which have indiscriminate effects. “
The report informed that more than 100 children and over 50 women were killed or injured in the violence (23 children and 2 women killed).
“The report also highlights a pattern of threats, intimidation and harassment, including abductions, carried out by the Taliban prior to the elections. These incidents, taken together with a series of public statements made by the Taliban on the elections, reveal a deliberate campaign intended to disrupt and undermine the electoral process, and deprive Afghan citizens of their right to freely participate in the political process without fear,” UNAMA noted.
The Taliban’s action, UNAMA believes, forced Afghans to make tough choice between exercising their right to vote and their safety and security.
Citing international human rights law, UNAMA has clarified that everyone has the right to take part in public affairs, to vote and to be elected to government without discrimination and without unreasonable restrictions, “All citizens – whether voters, candidates or election-related staff – have the right to be free from fear and intimidation at all stages of an elections process.”
The report has made numerous suggestions and enforcement measures that can prevent or help
tackle these issues in the upcoming presidential elections of 2019 in Afghanistan.