All Updates and Live Reporting from Across Afghanistan.
As told to Hash-e-Sobh Daily, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) has said that 360 polling centres missed the voting process today.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said that tomorrow, the voting process will be held at 360 remaining polling centres.
IEC had previously announced that elections will be held tomorrow at those centres that remained closed today until 1 pm. On the other hand, centres in which elections began until 1 P.M will have an extended polling time till 8 P.M.
In an interview to TOLONews, Chief executive Abdullah said that he had faith in people’s choices to vote today despite the tough times and also said that the high turnout of voters was a message to say no to terrorism.
Admitting the technical glitches that defined the inefficiency of some polling centres today, he said that these could have been prevented. However, he assured the public that the issues were in no way intentional. To compensate for this, he added, the government and authorities have made a provision for those who could not cast their vote today, to make a difference in tomorrow’s elections.
He also requested the IEC to work on their errors and mistakes so that they are not repeated. Speaking about the biometric technology hurdles, he clarified that the problems arose due to the scarce time in hand to initiate the usage of the technology.
Discussing next year’s presidential elections, he expressed hope in political leaders to not interfere in the electoral process to satisfy their own vested interests, adding that it won’t be acceptable in any way to delay the presidential elections.
Finally, addressing the matter of peace in Afghanistan, he made it clearer that the countries that support and aid insurgency in Afghanistan have it in their control to end the war if they really intend to bring peace and pacify the situation.
Impressed and encouraged by the huge voter turnout today in Afghanistan, the UNAMA has released a statement saying all Afghan authorities must now commit to the best of their abilities in safeguarding and completing the elections.
The statement added that it “is now imperative that the country’s electoral authorities – both the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Electoral Complaints Commission (EEC) – re-double their efforts to make sure all eligible voters are given a reasonable opportunity to cast their ballot.
All Afghan authorities and actors – including political parties, the government, candidates and security institutions – must demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding and completing the elections, and to protecting the integrity of the process, especially with regard to tabulating and announcing the results.”
Finally the UNAMA has acknowledged efforts by voters, and authorities alike and has also put a sentence of appreciation towards the effort to conduct elections tomorrow on account of failure to hold elections in certain centres today.
High number of #Afghans turned out today, braving security threats and waiting long hours to vote for a better future. All Afghan authorities and actors must now demonstrate commitment to safeguarding and completing credible elections. Read full statement: https://t.co/UxmtG6DhAG pic.twitter.com/EWICbevN6s
— UNAMA News (@UNAMAnews) October 20, 2018
In a live presser on late Saturday, there were many points covered by various security leaders of Afghanistan regarding today’s voting process.
Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi, the deputy minister of interior, pointed out that the massive voter turnout represented people’s victory over insurgents’ attempts to disturb and disrupt the electoral process. Most importantly, Ibrahimi stated that in comparison to 2014 elections, this time’s elections recorded 193 security incidents against the figure of 2014’s which was twice as much.
Additionally, the Chief of Staff of Army, Sharif Yaftali assured that the ANDSF are quick on feet and enough preparedness for the past 5 months which enabled them to transfer all electoral material across the length and breadth of the country, “It was a good learning experience seeing the coordination among all intelligence forces to provide security for elections. Security forces didn’t interfere in elections and only were for stabilization.”
Yaftali also added that the forces are completely ready to provide security for tomorrow’s elections as well and was glad to express that the media on voting day held trust in security forces.
Furthermore, Harun Chakhansuri, spokesperson to the President declared a holiday on Sunday on account of elections in left-out polling stations. He also clarified that the government is “fully prepared for elections tomorrow and nobody can deprive the citizens of their voting rights.”
With respect to complaints that surfaced throughout the day, Chakhansuri said that the matters would be addressed and also that the elections were possible also due to the efforts of district chiefs and local officials apart from IEC staff who managed to “mobilise people.”
It has been reported by an official that the police chiefs of Mirzaka and Zazai Ayoub districts of Paktia Province have been sacked on the charge of meddling in the affairs of electoral process today.
Statistics brought forward by the IEC show that nearly 1.5 million men and women have participated in the election.
These statistics are from 27 provinces of the country and far, at least 92% of the data has been collected.
Kabul and Herat provinces had the highest number of participants whereas Faryab had the lowest.
So far, out of a total of 5074 centres, nearly 4667 centres have been open.
Moreover, The figures of the participants in Badghis, Kandahar, Maidan Wardak, and Parwan provinces are still not included in this list.
Furthermore, at least 4091 centres should have been open, but due to security problems, administrative problems and lack of election materials, 371 centres were closed.
Finally, according to these preliminary statistics, since 2010 this is the highest percentage of people turn out in the election.
According to officials from the Herat Election Commission who informed Salam Watandar Radio, the Taliban have attacked 12 polling centres in the districts of Keshk-e-Kohna, Keshk-e-Robatsangi, Kohsan, Karokh, Chesht, Pashtun Zarghun, Ghoriyan, Enjil, and Guzara today.
Two military soldiers were killed as a result of a car crash, according to a provincial election commission of the Herat. These soldiers were transporting the electoral materials to Keshk-e-Robatsangi, and three other soldiers were also injured in the incident, the provincial election commission said in a statement.
According to the statement, two other people were wounded in another incident in Kohsan district, which was the result of a mine blast in two electoral sites.
Minister of Interior Wais Barmak in an interview to TOLONews has confirmed that in the course of today’s voting proceedings, 192 security incidents took place in which 17 civilians and 11 security force members had been killed.
83 others were wounded.
He also confirmed that 10 policemen and an Afghan National Army soldier were among those who were killed, while 17 security members were wounded.
The Minister of Interior Wais Barmak in a live interview has confirmed that 17 people have lost their lives and 83 others have been wounded during the course of elections today.
He also mentioned that as many as 1000 polling stations were shut across Afghanistan today and he stressed on the security establishment of the country that is always ready for protection of the centres when elections for the remaining centres will be held on Sunday, that is, tomorrow.
Gulajan Abdulbadi Sayyad, the chief of IEC held a press conference and pointed out various happenings of the election day. He began by saying that it was a pleasant thing for Afghans to have showed up in good numbers, making the turnout for these elections impressive.
Though some problems like delays and failure to use biometrics took place, the IEC cheif pointed out that some of the hurdles were a result of the complacency or negligence of the election staff. For instance one of the shortcomings cited by Mr Sayyad was how the teachers who were appointed for election duty did not turn up at the designated centres due to fear of Taliban’s threats which led to many polling stations not opening up, or getting delayed in beginning the balloting process.
But fortunately, as per IEC records, the highest voter turnout was recorded in Kabul and sadly, lowest turnout in Faryab. He also pointed out that the IEC still does not have voter turnout data from 5 provinces.
As for those voting centres that could not receive election paraphernalia or where the staff was absent, the IEC chairman reconfirmed that elections there would take place tomorrow.
Acknowledging the biometric technology problems, Mr Sayyad said that there were indeed issues as the technology is new to the staff and voters.
As far as fraudulent claims are concernd, the chief said that “claims of fraud in elections will be seriously addressed.” This comes after IECC spokesperson pointed various errors on the part of IEC on election day.
It has been reported that vote counting has already begun in Mazar-e Sharif city’s polling centre of Bakhtar high school as there the voting process has come to an end there.
It has been reported that the death toll at the PD17 Kabul attack has surged to 15 people out of which 10 were civilians and 5, policemen.
The nature of the explosion was a suicide bombing, as confirmed by security officials.
It has been reported by Reuters that at least 10 people have been killed and several more wounded in the explosion that took place in PD17’s Khair Khana Hilltop polling station of Kabul.
No information on claims of responsibility yet. More details to come.
An explosion has been reported in the PD 17 area of Kabul which took place in the polling station on Khair Khana hilltop area at 5 P.M on Saturday.
Casualties feared. Nature of the explosion has not been clear yet and nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Reporterly got information from the district police chief of Baharak in Takhar that the voting process in the district passed without many issues. 9 centres were run and were under control.
The only minor problem faced by the place was that the biometric devices ran slightly slow which might have caused minor delays.
This is also one of the places where the biometric devices are not being used so those who do not have their names on the voter list but still have stickers on their tazkiras will be able to cast their ballot.
Cornelius Zimmermann, NATO’s civilian representative after having observed the balloting that took place today across Afghanistan amidst the security threats and challenges was glad to see the turnout of voters. In a statement, he was glad to express that he is “impressed by the courage and determination of Afghan voters shaping the future of their country”.
Kabul police spokesman, Bashir Mujahid, has said that as a result of a blast in Khwaja Bughra area of PD 15 in Kabul, one was killed and two others were injured.
According to him, one of the injured belongs to the police force.
A number of other minor explosions have also been reported in Kabul, which, according to security officials, have not had any casualties.
The Government of Afghanistan has come out with an announcement informing all that tomorrow, Sunday will be an off-day across the country as the IEC had earlier announced of elections being held at some polling centres tomorrow.
Mohammad Musa, the district police chief of Hazar Somoj in Takahr province has informed Reporterly that the security in the district is almost under control.
However, the voter turnout so far has been less than the number of registered voters in the area and that might be because the provincial council members had gotten their outstationed relatives registered in the process to suit their own interests.
Mohammad Ali Hussaini, the district governor of Dara Suf Bala in Samangan has informed Reporterly that the district has 20 operational polling centres and the day has seen smooth operations barring minor technical problems which too, was resolved shortly.
As told to Reporterly by Zibak district police chief, the district faced no serious challenge as the security scenario was kept under control.
The police chief also added that the voter turnout in the stations was high.
Local sources in Balkh have informed that due to insurgent attack on polling centres in Dawlatabad, Balkh ad Chahar Bolak districts, eight polling centres had to be shut down as early as 2 P.M.
Quoting Mohammad Zaher Akabari provincial chief of IEC, Salam Watandar Radio reported that due to security challenges, closing down of more centres is anticipated.
Moreover, General Abdul Razeq Qaderi a senior police official in Balkh confirmed the Taliban attacks on the Chahar Bolak, Balkh, Dawlatabad and Chimtal districts but stressed that the attacks are countered and the situation is under control.
It also reported that there are no casualties reported during the attacks.
Reporterly got confirmation from the district governor of Karokh in Herat, Wahid Ahmed Azadani that 43 polling stations are open there and the voting process in general is going smoothly.
The UNAMA released a photograph and statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Tadamichi Yamamoto, who is also the head of UNAMA on his visit to one of the polling centres in Kabul.
Mr Yamamoto met with some voters, electoral officials, as well as observers. The statement also read that “[It is] Clear that Afghans want their voices heard, [as they are] braving security threats & enduring delays due to technical issue to cast their vote for representatives of their choosing.”
UN envoy Yamamoto visited #Kabul polling centre to meet voters, electoral officials & observers. Clear that Afghans want their voices heard, braving security threats & enduring delays due to technical issue to cast their vote for representatives of their choosing. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/0cLUDviokD
— UNAMA News (@UNAMAnews) October 20, 2018
In a press conference, a spokesperson for IECC has expressed regret in saying that the election process has unfortunately been a mismanaged electoral event.
Adding to the criticism, the spokesperson added that 3 of their staff members were injured and the IECC has noted many irregularities in the elections which could hamper with the transparency.
Talking about observers, the IECC is of the opinion that it was not fair for disallowing IECC observers to enter some polling centres.
With respect to the complaints concerns forwarded to the IEC today, IECC has pointed out that the IEC has failed to really resolve the issues that were brought up to them on this election day.
Expressing serious concern about the election day’s management, the IECC has seemed dissatisfied with the whole electoral process today.
Spokesperson Rohani listed out all the complaints the IECC received and they as follows:
1. In a large number of polling centres, the polling stations were not open till as late as 3:30 P.M
2. A number of centres saw a delay
3. the voting material was not available for the election staff in a number of centers
4. There have been serious biometric shortcomings
5. Observers were threatened/intimidated
6. Some of the material for elections was not entirely transferred
7. The representatives of the Electoral Complaints Commission have not been allowed to enter a number of centres and not been able to monitor them.
It has been reported to Reporterly by the district police chief of Baharak, Badakhshan, Asadullah Hakimi that in two centres (Malangnan and Khairabad), before 11 A.M, there were some minor activities by insurgents which had stopped since.
Otherwise, the voter turnout was good and no other problem barring biometric hurdles.
The acting governor of Uba in Herat, Rahmuddin Sarwazai has informed Reporterly that there are 13 polling centres in the district but the people have not come out for voting with much excitement due to the fear of security threats in one of the centres in Kuyan, where insurgents carried out attacks. The situation is now under control.
The district governor of Ghuriyan, Herat, Farkhad Khademi has informed Reporterly that all of the district’s 18 polling stations were open for voting but with some delays.
He also added that apart from the delay there was no major issue and in fact, the people appeared in significant numbers to vote.
According to officials from the Kunduz Provincial Hospital, as of now, 2 people have been killed and 39 others, injured and all of them have been brought to the hospital, as has been told to Salam Watandar Radio.
The deceased include 1 military and 1 civilian, and the wounded include 11 military personnel and 28 civilians, out of which 12 are women.
A member of the Kunduz Provincial Council, Amruddin Wali, said that the Taliban have targeted 9 different areas of Kunduz since the morning with mortars.
The head of the Provincial Office of the Independent Election Commission of Kunduz, Mohammad Rasoul Omar, said that the Taliban have taken all electoral personnel and materials of the polling centre in the district of Imam Sahib with them.