Alice Wells urges IEC authorities to deliver accurate election result

In meeting with Afghan President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah in Kabul on October 15, US Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells for South and Central Asian Affairs said that the Afghan government, leaders and Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) should be accountable to the Afghan people.  Alice Wells clearly said that her government will oppose any political interference or pressure on the work of the IEC.

As the country’s election commission is preparing to announce the preliminary result of the 2019 presidential elections, election watchdogs and observers praise the Afghan security forces for their commitment to, free and fair election. The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) said the Afghan security forces did their job with impartiality and fairness. TEFA, however, highlighted that there is no mechanism to differentiate unclean votes from the clean ones.  

Naeem Ayoubzada, Director of the FEFA, claims that the IEC commissioners and Dermalog Company, a private German company that provides technical assistance to the Afghan election commission, do not have expertise to use the biometric devices properly. The IEC should ask Dermalog to invite foreign experts and technicians to resolve the problem, Ayoubzada said.    

In separate meetings with the IEC’s authorities, ambassadors of US, UK, Canada, Iran, and EU praised IEC’s leadership—stressing that the IEC should remain committed and independent.

“There is no much concern about the process or the likely delay in announcement of election result,” said an IEC spokesperson Ali Eftikhari to Kabul Now.

Meeting IEC authorities, the top US diplomat, Alice Wells, said they will support the election commission. “[It is] better for the IEC to deliver an accurate result than a rushed one,” she noted.

Meanwhile, MP Ghulam Hussain Naseri called on the IEC to announce election result as per the timeline—October 19.

TEFA’s concern came while earlier Mawlana Abdullah, an IEC commissioner, had said the IEC would sort clean votes once all votes tallied to the National Tally Center.    

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday, October 15, presidential candidate Rahmatullah Nabil claimed Ghani’s team was trying to involve the Supreme Court in election process. “Interference by the Supreme Court will break public trust in justice and judicial institutions,” he warned.

The 2019 Afghan election took place under tight security and fear of violence posed by the Taliban insurgents.  

Issuing a report on Tuesday, October 15, the UNAMA said several attacks targeted the Afghan electoral process left 458 civilian casualties (85 killed and 373 injured).