Afghanistan bars up to 35 from running in next polls

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – In a landmark development, the election commission in Afghanistan on Saturday announced to bar a number of powerful individuals, militia commanders and current parliamentarians, from contesting the next parliamentary elections.

The Independent Election Complaint Commission (IECC) revealed on Saturday up to 35 candidates would not be able to run for the long-due parliamentary elections.

Among those removed from the list of candidates include powerful lawmaker from the capital Kabul Mawlawi Tarakhail, former secretary of the Independent Election Commission Ziaulhaq Amarkhail, Hezb-e-Islami party’s Zardad Faryadi, renowned female lawmaker Fawzia Koofi, and local commander in Takhar province Bashir Qanet.

According to the local Tolo News, the IECC had assigned a special committee for investigation of possible links of the candidates with illegal armed groups, as well as involvement in security issues, coordinated crimes, drug smuggling and misuse of public and private assets.

Abdul Basir Fayez, an IECC commissioner, told reporters in Kabul the objections leveled against 141 candidates were cleared after a review process.
A number of dropped out candidates have staged protest against the move.

The already delayed and long-due parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in October later this year.

According to the electoral commission, the voter registration drive went ahead swiftly with transparency in which close to 9 million Afghans were registered, a claim rejected by many political parties.