2 observers killed, many beaten on polling day
Feature Stories - October 17, 2019

2 observers killed, many beaten on polling day

KABUL (Pajhwok): Two election observers were killed, 20 injured and 26 arrested and released while tens of others were beaten and threatened during the September 28 presidential election, Pajhwok Afghan News has learned.

The presidential election was held on September 28 after months of delay. Thirteen candidates contested for the country’s top political position.

According to information from the Independent Election Commission (IEC), over 113,500 observers, more than 21,680 national observers, 1,153 national and international journalists and 87 special guests monitored and covered the presidential elections.

Of the total agents and observers, 84,272 belonged to presidential candidates, 29,266 to political parties, 21,597 to national watchdogs, 1,153 to 40 media outlets, 78 to eight international watchdogs and 87 to seven international institutions, who monitored the voting process on the polling day.

From these electoral monitors, one person was killed, one injured, 14 released after arrest by Taliban and police and tens have been beaten and threatened.

Aziz Rafiee, Head of Afghanistan Civil Society Forum-organization (ACSFo) said to Pajhwok that ACSFo had an observer who was martyred by Taliban after being tortured and he was in Taliban captivity for three days.

He said Ali Naqi the certain observer had been monitoring the election at a polling center in Naswan Baharak area of Shancharak district of northern Sar-i-Pul province.

On October 3rd he was snatched from car by local Taliban in Langar locality and taken by Taliban to unknown place. He was martyred after severe torture in Bazar Bashir area on Monday October 7.

Without going into details, he said some of their agents were beaten on polling day and tens of others were threatened and some were forced to quit their jobs.

Ahmad Zubair Habib, spokesperson for the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), said: “Our three observers were kidnapped by local Taliban from Taloqan’s outskirts when they wanted to visit a polling station early on the polling day but they were freed with efforts of local police.”

He said some TEFA officials were threatened by supporters of some election teams. Habib added that the total number of TEFA observers reached 5,200 nation-wide.

Yusof Rashid, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), said one of their observers was injured in a blast in Azra district of Logar province and was currently under medical treatment.

He said five FEFA agents were held hostage during the Taliban group’s attack in Chah Ab district of Takhar province on the polling day. They established contact with the main officer after four days.

“Security forces provided them support and transferred them to Rustaq district from where they reached Taloqan, the province capital,” he added.

Rashid said one of their observers was held captive by Taliban in one of the provinces and freed him after one week.

He said on Election Day, three of FEFA’s agents were beaten in Kabul, two in Paktia, one each in Farah, Kunduz, Shiberghan, Badakhshan and Kapisa provinces.

According to Rashid, FEFA dispatched 6,000 observers nation-wide on Election Day.

Qudsia Rahim, head of the Afghan Women Network (AWN), said they dispatched 28 election observers to eight provinces — Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Balkh, Paktia, Kunduz, and Bamyan and they faced no problems or difficulties.

Hussain Ahmad head of the Afghan Landmines Survivors Organisation (ALSO) said they dispatched 90 observers in Kabul, Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar, Parwan, Bamyan and Kandahar provinces. Ninety five percent of their observers were disabled persons.

Abdul Haq Saqib, communication officer of the Wadan Afghanistan, said they tasked 350 observers in Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman, Nuristan, Paktia, Khost and Kandahar provinces during presidential elections.

Ajmal Hoadman, Head of legal and Monitoring Affairs of Ashraf Ghani’s State Builder team, said they tasked 29,586 election observers while 20,273 members of allied political parties’ also served as observers for them.

He said: “One observer of the State Builder team was killed by the Taliban in Ghazni province and 19 others injured in different incidents country-wide.”

Hoadman added five of their observers had been arrested by the Taliban in Maidan Wardak, Badakhshan and Kunduz province and they were freed in coordination with tribal elders.

Seven more observers of State Builder team were arrested by security forces for a short time from Kabul, Helmand and Faryab provinces.

Faridon Khawazon, spokesman for the Stability and Partnership team led by Abdullah Abdullah, said their team tasked 311,398 agents to observer polling in presidential election.

He said: “One of our election observers was beaten by security forces in the Syed Karam district, four observers detained in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province and one observer was detained by district chief in Spinboldak district of Kandahar province.”

He added one of their observers was beaten by Wolesi Jirga member Iqbal Safi in Mahmood Raqi, the capital of Kapisa province.

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, election campaign head of the Peace and Islamic Justice team led by Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, said they dispatched 14,000 observers on polling day and faced no problem.

Khairuddin Aini, member of the Hizb-e-Paiwand Melli’s leadership council, said they have had 5,000 observers on polling day of the presidential election country-wide.

He said two of their observers were threatened by militants in the Khawaja Ghar district of Takhar and Syagard district of Parwan province.

Zabihullah Sadaat, acting spokesperson of the IEC, said the commission had received no reports regarding torture, kidnapping, injury or threats to election observers.

Mohammad Raza Fayaz, spokesperson to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC), said they dispatched one representative to every polling station and their agents faced no problems.

He said if agents of other monitoring groups had been beaten or threaten, they could register their complaints with the IEC. He did not provide more details.

Ahmad Shah Erfanyar

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