Polls: Faryab Kuchis feel vulnerable to Taliban
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Kuchi tribesmen fear a majority of them would not unable to cast their votes in the April elections due to the presence of Taliban militants in their areas in northern Faryab province.
They say they have the right like other countrymen to benefit and take part in every social activity and have their say in political decisions.
A Kuchi representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid Taliban’s wrath, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 80 percent of Kuchis lived in areas, where the Taliban held sway.
He said the nomads in Faryab remained deprived of basic life facilities such as roads, electricity, safe drinking water, education and vocational courses over the past few years.
He said the tribesmen could not obtain voter cards under pressure from the insurgents.
The Sherin Tagab district resident said: “We Kuchis are considered the sixth finger on the hand.” He meant to say they were marginalised.
Another Kuchi man said their tribesmen lived in Dawlatabd, Sherin Tagab, Pashtunkot, Almar and Qaisar districts, where they faced with many problems.
He claimed teachers at schools opened in the name of Kuchi tribesmen did not attend classes and shared their salaries with the Taliban.
But Faryab education director Ahmadullah Arab rejected his claim, saying schools situated in Taliban-controlled areas were managed by district councils.
“The education department is paying no jizyah (tax) to any group. What teachers do of the salaries they receive is none of our business,” said Arab.
Provincial Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief Syed Massoum Massoumi said the issue of insecurity was not confined only to Kuchi tribesmen or Faryab, but existed in many provinces.
He said maintaining security of polling stations was the job of security organs, suggesting that Kuchi tribesmen could travel elsewhere if they were unable to cast votes in their areas.
“The security organs have declared 14 percent polling centres as sensitive and under threats. But I fear the percentage can increase until the election day.”
Police chief Brig. Gern. Tooryalai Abdiani said there were a total of 240 polling centres in Faryab and they were trying to improve security for the fewer number of insecure centres.
Governor Mohammadullah Batash said security forces were conducting operations over the past two days in several areas, including those inhibited by Kuchi tribesmen. He said the people would see a positive change soon.
According to the provincial IEC office, so far 110,000 individuals, including Kuchis and 37 percent of them women, have obtained voter cards across the province.
The Taliban a day earlier threatened to use all their force to foil the presidential elections and warned Afghans to stay away from the process.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.