Afghan, NATO forces build up security for upcoming parliamentary elections

19:00, September 15, 2010      

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With only three days left to Afghanistan's second parliamentary elections since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001, the country has beefed up security for the balloting, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said Wednesday.

Over 300,000 Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in collaboration with more than 140,000 NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have chalked out a plan to ensure security for the balloting, he said.

"An operational plan to ensure security for the parliamentary elections has been chalked out," Azimi told a joint press conference with chief of operational department of Afghan army joint chief of staff General Afzal Aman and ISAF Joint Command Deputy Chief of Operations General Wayne Detwiler.

According to Azimi, over 5,900 polling centers across the country would be encircled with Afghan police as the first security belt for ensuring security of the voters on the elections day.

Briefing newsmen at the same press conference, General Aman said that over 48 big military operations had been launched by ANSF and ISAF forces to secure the areas with high threat across the country over the past couple of months.

"For months, the Afghan interior and defense ministries have worked to make these parliamentary elections safe and secure and as a result of their tireless efforts, the voice of Afghan will be heard on election-day," said Detwiler.

He said ISAF's primary role during the Afghan-led and Afghan- run elections is to support and assist ANSF.

"Together ANSF and ISAF developed and rehearsed a series of election security plans, working shoulder to shoulder to provide the Afghan people the best possible election security," he stated.

"This also includes preventing the Taliban from their stated aim of keeping the Afghan people away from voting," he emphasized.

Election body's chief Fazal Ahmad Manawi confirmed weeks ago that 938 polling centers out of 6835 would remain closed across the country due to security problems.

While the date for election is drawing closer, the Taliban insurgents have vowed to disrupt the electoral process by any possible means.

However, the officials have confirmed that election will not be held in nine districts out of over 350 districts in the country.

Seven districts are located in Taliban stronghold - south Afghanistan's Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Ghazni provinces while two other district are in eastern Paktia and Nuristan province.

Over 2,500 candidates including some 400 women had registered their names to secure 249 seats in Afghan Wolesi Jirga or Lower House of parliament in the militancy-hit central Asian state.

Source: Xinhua


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