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Attack on Khost vote tally centre being probed

Attack on Khost vote tally centre being probed

Apr 07, 2014 - 17:55

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): The governor’s house said on Monday its investigation into an attack on a vote-counting centre in southeastern Khost province was ongoing and that the centre’s security chief and regional administrator had been arrested.

In a statement, the governor’s office said some illegal armed individuals forced their way into the vote-counting centre last night and interfered with a number of ballot boxes. The centre was established with the consent of the provincial Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) office.

The facility is 20 metres away from the IEC office, 50 metres from the National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon) department and a kilometre from the police headquarters.

The statement said police and NDS officials had been tasked with providing security for the vote counting centre, with the IEC responsible for internal affairs.

Soon after the incident, Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi, police chief, deputy head of the Military Coordination Centre and the provincial IEC chief visited the affected facility.

They found some ballot boxes had been interfered with and the culprits had left the scene, the statement said, blaming the incident on gross negligence in duty by the officials deputed there.

The statement said NDS officials then detained the responsible security official and the regional administrator for the severe negligent failure and the pair was being questioned.

In light of the ongoing probe into the matter, a four-page letter has been sent to all the departments concerned to investigate all aspects of the incident and award punishment to those responsible under the law.

Strongly condemning the last night’s incident, the governor’s house assured the masses that the matter would be thoroughly investigated and everyone having hand in it would be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, a campaigner for presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Karamat Khan Khpalwak, told Pajhwok Afghan News Senator Arifullah Pashtuninfo-icon, who campaigned for Zalmai Rassoul, illegally entered a vote-counting centre last evening.

He accused Pashtun of breaking five ballot boxes, throwing away votes cast for Ghani and stuffing the boxes with fake votes in favour of Rassoul.

Soon after they came to know about the incident, Khpalwak said they rushed to the vote-counting centre and recorded a video of what happened there.

Pashtun acknowledged he entered the facility during unofficial time, but denied the allegations leveled by Khpalwak.

“Our observers reported to us that ballot boxes were being stuffed in favour of Ustad (Abdul Rab Rassoul) Sayyaf and those cast for Rassoul thrown out,” he said of the reason behind his visit to the vote-counting site.

The incident was confirmed by the IEC chief in Khost, Faizullah Ghairat, who said an investigation was underway.



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