Afghanistan prepares for presidential election amid challenges

Afghanistan prepares for presidential election amid challenges

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KABUL, Sept. 12, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Afghan army soldiers stand guard near the site of a bomb explosion in Chahar Asyab district of Kabul province, Afghanistan, Sept. 12, 2019. Four Afghan soldiers were killed and three others wounded in a suicide car bomb explosion outside Afghan army special forces
Kabul, Sep 16 (IANS) Afghanistan is preparing for the upcoming presidential election on September 28 amid Taliban threats and persisting challenges.
Afghan Interior Ministry officials held a meeting on Monday to discuss election security as Taliban militants have vowed to disrupt the process, reports Xinhua news agency.
"This morning, I chaired our weekly Planning and Coordination Meeting on Elections' Security. We are entering into an important phase. So far, we have accomplished all planned security goals and we are ready and looking forward to September 28," Abdul Moqim Abdulrahimzai, director general of operations and plans of the ministry, wrote on Twitter.
"Our particular focus is on our citizens' protection. Thanks to all our partners for their tireless support."
A total of 18 contenders are in the fray including sitting President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and his Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
More than 9 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots.
The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) have beefed up security operations against Taliban fighters as the militants have launched massive attacks on cities and districts across the country.
The security forces have recaptured six districts from Taliban militants in northern Faryab, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces since Friday, in a bid to ensure security for the polls.
The poll will be the fourth presidential election in Afghanistan since 2001, when US troops invaded the country to oust the Taliban regime.
Taliban militants who have vowed to derail the election termed the voting process as a "ploy of foreign invaders to continue their occupation of Afghanistan", urging people to boycott the poll.
The ANDSF will provide security for 4,942 out of 5,373 polling centres and the remaining 431 located in remote districts will not open on the election day due to militants' presence, according to election officials.
Election officials and workers will use biometric devices on the election day in order to avoid multiple votes and identify people involved in fraud.
A QR code will be printed and stuckon the ballot papers. Without the code the ballot paper will be considered invalid during counting process.
--IANS
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