Assadullah Khalid, acting defense minister

Afghan forces will prevent disruption of election process, says acting defense minister

Speaking at a ‘peace and security’ conference held today, November 24, Assadullah Khalid, acting defense minister, said that Afghan security and defense forces will not let anyone to disrupt election process and the people’s daily life.

Mr. Khalid reiterated that Afghan forces have remained impartial in election process and will act impartially from now onward as well.

Stressing on capability of Afghan forces to defuse any conspiracy by ‘the enemies’, he, implicitly pointing out at recent protests against vote recount process in several provinces, noted that the Afghan people can sue their complaints in justice and judicial organs.

His remarks come as several presidential nominees including the incumbent chief executive Abdullah, former spy chief Rahmatullah Nabil, and leader of a faction Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar accused Afghan security organs of interfering in election process and favoring a particular presidential ticket.

In a press conference held earlier last week, Abdullah claimed that a number of protesters were killed and wounded as the result of gun fire by Afghan security forces in the northern Kunduz province.

The Afghan ministry of interior, however, said in a statement that they were killed and wounded after a Taliban mortar hit the regional office of the Independent Election Commission in the province.

Retweeting the statement, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass further noted that “there is no evidence Afghan security forces have engaged in partisan election activity, on Afghan election, day or after.”

He also urged All Afghans to remain calm and promote fact-based statements, not speculation.

In latest decision, the IEC announced yesterday, November 24, the commission have invalidated votes casted in 1,179 polling stations.

According to the IEC, the recount process has completed in 24 provinces. Vote recount is underway in three other provinces but it is on halt in seven provinces as a result of protests by some presidential tickets.

On the other hand, the Afghan acting defense minister touched on peace issue, noting that Afghan defense and security forces will implement, own, and maintain any potential peace deal. “No one and no power can impose anything on us that is against the people’s will,” he asserted.

Khalid stated that all military and civil achievements must be protected in the peace process.

“We do not want to see our security forces dismantled,” he said. Khalid’s comment came while intra-Afghan peace dialogue is supposed to resume in coming months.