On Saturday, explosions shook Afghanistan’s capital leaving many wounded as the country prepared to elect members of parliament. Some 250 seats were disputed in the lower house — in the midst of the attacks.
Citizens showed up to polling stations amid fears that they might be targeted by attackers. “The queue is getting longer. They have to register our votes quickly — we are afraid a bomber or a blast may hit us,” according to one Afghan voter, Mustafa.
This is the third such elections held since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The group has routinely labeled the election as “bogus.”
“People who are trying to help in holding this process successfully by providing security should be targeted and no stone should be left unturned for the prevention and failure [of elections],” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, reportedly said.
However, Yousuf Rasheed, executive director of the Independent Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan, said: “This is not all the Taliban’s doing. There are competing interests and clashes over seats. There are efforts to force candidates to withdraw. What will happen on election day if voters get directly targeted.”
The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan is the body responsible for election monitoring and supervision in the country of approximately 36 million people. Approximately 8.8 million citizens are registered to vote but the expected turnout is rounded down to five million, which would still be considered a success.
The state has deployed more than 50,000 security personnel to safeguard the 21,000 polling stations across the country.