Afghan forces ready for upcoming elections: official

-File photo

KABUL: Afghan security forces are ready to provide security for polling centres, a mammoth test ahead of next year’s landmark elections, an official said Monday.

Afghanistan had already begun voting registration to more than 400 polling centers in all 34 provinces countrywide.

“Today we have handed over our security plans for next year’s elections to IEC, and we have assured them of adequate security for 6,845 polling centers for next year’s elections,” Sediq Sediqqi, interior ministry spokesman told reporters in Kabul.

“The Afghan police, army, and intelligence forces are able to take security of the voting registration centers for next year’s elections,” Sediqqi said.

On Saturday, the Elections Commission announced there were four districts — Kaker in Zabul, Nawa in Ghazni, Deshu and Baghran in Helmand — that were not under government control.

Those places have not received registration materials. But Sediqqi said they were working to provide security for those insecure parts ahead of elections.

In May, the IEC started registering new voters for the 2014 elections opening 41 centres in primarily urban areas and registering around 130,000 new voters so far.

Four million names are expected to be added to the electoral roll, currently containing 16 million voters, before polls in April 2014, though many Afghans fear that the date could be delayed due to the threat of attack by the Taliban insurgency.

The presidential race slated for April 2014 is seen as a crucial step towards a legitimate government that will take over when President Hamid Karzai relinquishes power.

The election is also seen as a key test of the success of US-led international military intervention since the Taliban regime fell in 2001.

It also remains a key test for around 350,000 Afghan security forces who have recently taken the full security responsibility from NATO, as the force completes its withdrawal next year.