By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The people of Afghanistan joined the polling stations early Saturday to vote for their candidates amid fear from the Taliban militants’ most possible attacks and widespread fraud that marred previous polls in the war suffered nation.
A Kabul resident, Hamayoun Ranjbar who blamed the past election for widespread frauds, in a briefing with The Kabul Times correspondent said that he went to a polling center in Habibia High School and voted for his favorite candidate and hoped his single vote could bring change in the ongoing strict situation.
“Many people in my neighborhood cautioned me of most possible suicide and explosive attacks during the process, but dared any threat and cast his vote hoping the next system could restore justice, bring peace, security and progress to the country.”
Marjan Salik from northeastern Badakhshan province, in a telephone call said that she used his right to vote in spite of insecurity, attack and suicide threats from the Taliban militants and frauds during the past poll.
“I and my eligible family members practiced our votes for our favorite candidate to have democracy institutionalized democracy and that voting is a trust that should entrusted to its holder,” she added.
All people are not of the same view, some voted for their own reason and some refused, mostly because of security threats.
Padida, who runs by one name, said she didn’t want to go to the polling centers to vote, because of security threat and in the past election she voted but there were widespread fraud and vote-rigging.
“Although, I was very interested in voting, but in the past I voted and wide frauds caused my favorite candidate not to win, so I don’t want to vote anymore unless fraud was prevented and a legal process was held,” Paddia, a Kabul resident who has just completed 23 told The Kabul Times.
She many people in her neighborhood didn’t get out of their houses to go the polling stations, for security reasons.
Merajuddin Sadi who said was mainly native to northern province of Badakhshan and currently reside in Kabul believes the same and said this year’s election did not worth voting as he voted in the past several parliamentary and presidential process but due to wide frauds and disorder, none of his favorite candidates could win.
“I did not vote. Our votes are meaningless, because of widespread vote-riggings and on the other, we have lost our expectation from our politicians to serve the people and the country,” he said.
Fifteen presidential candidates are contesting the September 28 presidential vote, however, the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, who is seeking another five-year term and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abdullah Abdullah are seen to be the pioneers.
The government of Afghanistan has bolstered security in an effort to ensure the security of the second-ever democratic power transition in the war-suffered country of 25 million people.
Hundreds of militants have been killed, wounded or arrested during government forces anti-terrorists offensives across the country, where they wanted to disturb the process by targeting the polling stations and the citizens who wanted to vote.
The government has earlier assured that up to 72,000 security personnel have been deployed to take security of nearly 5, 000 polling centers opened at about 7 a.m. and closed at 7 p.m. local times, across the country.
According to electoral and security sources, some 2,000 voting centers have remained shut due to security threats from the Taliban who warned to target the process if takes place.
About 9.6 million Afghans have been reportedly registered to join the vote for the fourth presidential process since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in 2001 hoping to end bloodshed and insecurity through a legal process that could serve the war suffered nation.