Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 21st, 2017

IEC Signs Agreement on Election Security with NDS, MoD

IEC Signs Agreement  on Election Security with NDS, MoD

KABUL - The Independent Election Commission Chief has called on security forces to ensure that next year’s polls can be safe and free and fair.
The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC), the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Directorate of National Security (NDS) on Sunday signed an agreement outlining security procedures for the nation’s upcoming parliamentary and district council elections which are scheduled for July 7 next year.
At a ceremony held in Kabul, the agreement on election security was signed by the chief of the IEC Najibullah Ahmadzai, the head of NDS Massoum Stanekzai and Army Chief of Staff General Sharif Yaftali.
The IEC chief called on the Afghan security institutions to make sure that a comprehensive security strategy is defined in order for people to cast their votes in the next poll. 
Meanwhile, the head of the NDS has said that providing tight security for elections is a difficult task in view of the ongoing situation in the country, but stressed that all capacities must be utilized so as to ensure elections are held in a peaceful manner in the country.
“I request the security forces to work together so that proper ground is paved for the people to cast their vote,” said IEC chief Najibullah Ahmadzai.
“With consideration of the internal situation and security threats, the situation in the region and international rivalries, security will not be an easy task, but we have mobilized all our capacities,” said Stanekzai.
“We will utilize all our capacities to ensure the security of the people and the elections,” said Yaftali.
Interference by powerful people and influential figures in the election process seem to be among the main concerns for the IEC.
“We will not allow interference in the elections, rigging or leveraging,” said Minister of Interior Taj Mohammad Jahid.
The IEC is now preparing to start the assessment of the voting centers.
“We will cooperate with the independent election commission in each district and in the certification of border villages,” said Abdul Baqi Popalzai, the acting chief of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).
Afghanistan’s parliamentary and district council elections are scheduled to be hold on July 7 next year.
The IEC has expressed hope that the election reforms process will be completed before voting.
Currently, the Afghan security forces are tackling insurgents on multiple fronts in 20 provinces, an issue which would have a significant impact on the credibility and legitimacy of the elections.
The ability for people to participate in elections free from fear or harassment is essential to inclusive and credible polls. (Tolonews)