Polls unlikely in some Ghazni areas
GHAZNI CITY (PAN): Residents on Sunday said they did not believe next year’s elections could be held in insurgency-plagued parts of the southern province, but security officials insisted elaborate measures were being put in place.
A Zankhan district resident, Mohammad Rahman, told Pajhwok Afghan News in Ghazni City, the provincial capital, the Taliban held sway over most parts of the district and would not allow people to take part in the April 5 polls.
He said residents living in remote villages had not been able to visit the district centre to obtain voter registration cards due to security concerns. Rahman believed no one would go to polling stations in Zankhan district because the Taliban had warned them against obtaining voter cards or taking part in the elections.
A Giro district dweller, Allah Mohammad, held similar views. He said insurgents controlling most parts of the town would not allow residents to take part in the elections.
“Taliban men have repeatedly come to our mosque and have asked people not to get voter cards and participate in the elections, which the rebels say is an American project.”
Mohammad said many residents knew nothing about the elections and no awareness creating programmes had been carried out in this regard.
Provincial council member Juma Khan Tarakai, confirming the existence of security problems in a number of districts, said it was the government’s responsibility to deal with the problem and enable people to take part in the polls without any fear.
“It should be acknowledged that the security situation in a number of districts has been worse. There is need for remedial measures.”
Deputy Governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi acknowledged security problems existed in many districts, but said the insecurity would not scuttle the elections.
“The government is duty-bound to maintain security for people taking part in the elections in an environment free of fears.”
Ahmadi called on the Ministry of Interior to consider elaborate security arrangements in the troubled town during the elections.
The deputy governor also asked people not to afraid from threats being posed by rebels and vote for candidates of their choice.
Ahmadi said the Taliban were out to prevent people from taking part in the elections, but there would be no problem because some Taliban representatives were also contesting the elections. He did not name any such candidate.
Police chief Brig. Gen. Ghulam Mohiuddin told Pajhwok Afghan News they had chalked out comprehensive security plans for the elections.
He said all the available resources would be utilised for the security of people taking part in the polls, saying people’s cooperation remained crucial.
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