Protesters shut down election body’s office in Kabul

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The election commission in Afghanistan on Monday warned the government of further delays in the long-due parliamentary elections as protesters shut down its office in the capital Kabul.

Angry loyalists to a number of politicians barred by the commission from taking part in the polls on various charges have taken to the streets in different cities.

In Kabul, protesters shut down the headquarters of Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Monday against the move, sparking fears about further delay in parliamentary elections that are due for years.

Abdul Badi Sayad, the head of the election commission, urged the government to provide effective security to the electoral commission office otherwise IEC would not take responsibility for the delay.

Addressing a news conference, Sayad said IEC offices are under threat all over the country. He urged the protesters to adhere to rules and avoid hindering the electoral process.

Earlier in the day, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the progress on the election process in Afghanistan.

“The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomes the recent progress made toward Afghanistan’s parliamentary polls, including candidate vetting and other preparations required for printing ballots on schedule, as testament to Afghanistan’s successful ownership of the electoral process,” the mission said in a statement.

On Saturday, the Independent Election Complaint Commission (IECC) revealed up to 35 candidates, including some famous names, would not be able to run for the elections.

According to the local Tolo News channel, the IECC had assigned a special committee for investigating the 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.

Afghans are scheduled to take part in the parliamentary elections on Oct. 20.

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