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Elections impossible in 5 districts of Helmand

22 Apr 2018 - 11:05
22 Apr 2018 - 11:05

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials on Sunday said polls could not be held in five districts of southern Helmand province.

Local law-enforcement officials had earlier promised ensuring security in most areas of Helmand ahead of parliamentary and district council elections, set for October this year.

Ahmad Shah Sahibzada, IEC’s acting head for Helmand, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the commission’s head office had told them conducting elections was not possible in five districts.

The insecure districts include Baghran, Musa Qala, Nawzad, Khanshin and Dishu, which were under Taliban control, the IEC official said.

Sahibzada added they had employed officers to handle poll-related election affairs in the five districts but enforcing order there was the responsibility of security organs.

Except Nawa and Greshk, all other districts are under threat from Taliban militants. The government controls 50 percent territory in Nawa and Greshk districts.

Even the third police district of Lashkargah, the provincial capital, has been a battleground while the fourth police district is fully controlled by the insurgents.

Governor Hayatullah Hayatalso acknowledged that voter registration and holding elections in the five districts would not be possible.

He said that they had suggested voting on the basis of electoral districts so that rights of those who were unable to cast ballots were not violated.

Attaullah Afghan, the Helmand provincial council head, warned the elections would be symbolic in the province if a pre-poll clearing operation was not conducted.

He said six districts including Sangin were under Taliban control. The government had sway over office complexes in Marja, Garmser, Kajaki and Washir districts.

Naad Ali district is also not ready for elections. Polls could be conducted only in Nawa and Greshk districts, Afghan said, adding elections in Helmand should be based on electoral district.

In the last one week, 6,000 people in Helmand have registered as voters.

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