Electioneering remains confined to Kabul
KABUL (Pajhwok): With the two-month presidential election campaign entering a second week, no hopeful has so far been able to move outside the central capital and address rallies in provinces.
Pajhwok reporters in provinces say posters of only four presidential candidates could be seen in provincial capitals.
Residents in some provinces say the campaign has been unenthusiastic as compared to the previous one in the lead-up to the 2009 elections.
Only Daud Sultanzoy had addressed a rally in western Herat province on the campaign’s first day.
Residents in provinces hold different views as to why the campaign has been tepid so far.
A Nimroz province resident Najibullah told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of people evinced little interest in the elections this time and were reluctant to arrange gatherings in support of candidates fearing the wrath of militants.
Residents of eastern Nuristan province said no posters or billboards of candidates have so far been displayed throughout the province.
Zardad, a resident of Paroon, the provincial capital, said it was insecurity that kept candidates away from campaigning in the province.
But in other provinces, the campaign has been lukewarm due to cold weather. Badakhshan, Baghlan, Kunar, Kunduz, Faryab, Jawzjan, Farah, Paktia, Zabul, Samangan and Uruzgan are the provinces, where posters of one to four candidates can be seen.
Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Gul Agha Sherzai, Abdul Qayyum Karzai, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Zalmai Rassoul are among the 11 presidential runners, who have opened campaign offices in provinces.
In cold areas, campaign workers say they have worked out plans for big rallies, but are awaiting the weather to get warmer. Campaigners say both cold weather and insecurity could be blamed for the lukewarm electioneering.
A spokesman for Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, Fahim Kohdamani, said they intended to arrange rallies of supporters in provinces, but insecurity and harsh weather conditions restricted their intentions.
He believed the Afghans were fully aware of candidates’ agendas and programmes and only posters would work, saying there was no need to spend much on the campaign.
A campaigner for Abdullah, Fazl Rahman, expressed similar views, saying insecurity and biting weather were not allowing candidates to travel to provinces and address rallies.
He said the government has been claiming that security for candidates had been ensured, but the ground reality was different.
In a reference to the killing of three campaigners of Abdullah, he said the claims of security organs had proven empty.
The Ministry of Interior on Monday said so far 52 security operations have been conducted to improve the security situation ahead of the April elections. The ministry said 70 militants have been killed in the operations conducted in various parts of the country.
The ministry said the operations would continue in order to enable candidates and voters to take part in the election process.
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