US confident Afghan forces to secure runoff vote
MAIDAN SHAHR (Pajhwok): A senior US diplomat on Sunday said she was confident the Afghan forces had the ability to keep security for a possible runoff between two top-voted candidates in the April 5 presidential race.
Karin Decker, High Representative of the US State Department to southeastern Afghanistan, told a gathering in this capital city of central Maidan Wardak province, that the Afghan security forces had been able to maintain security for the first round elections without support from their foreign counterparts.
She said international troops had been fully poised to assist their Afghan counterparts during the elections, but they were not called in and the Afghan forces did the job on their own.
“I am confident if the elections go to a second round, the Afghan forces will keep security for that,” she told the gathering also attended by Governor Abdul Majeed Khogyani and other local officials.
Khogyani said a second round of the elections would be more secure because the Afghan forces would try to overcome gaps they experienced in the first round.
Meanwhile, Independent Election Commission head in Wardak Eng. Noorullah Paigham said they were fully prepared to conduct a runoff election if needed. He said mistakes committed in the first round would not be repeated.
He said Wardak residents were hopeful the second round would see all polling centres open in the province.
Preliminary results announced a day earlier show Abdullah Abdullah has garnered the most votes 44.5 percent, setting the stage for a runoff with his closest rival Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on 31.5 percent of the votes.
Besides the IEC, defence and interior ministries have also said they are ready to hold a runoff between the two leading candidates if necessary.
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