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Voter Turnout in Insecure Provinces Is ‘Shocking’ High

(Last Updated On: October 3, 2019)

The voter turnout in some volatile provinces where Taliban militants have a huge presence raises serious questions and even the figures seem unbelievable for some people.

According to the election observers, the initial figures of some insecure provinces are shockingly high when they are compared with secure provinces.

For example, 218 polling centers were open on Election Day in Bamyan, the most secure province in the central part of Afghanistan, where 84,124 voters have cast their ballots.

However, only 155 polling centers were open in Paktia, a volatile province in east where Taliban militants have a huge presence in several districts of its district but the voter turnout is 161,678.

Moreover, Baghlan is an insecure province in the north where Taliban controls two of its districts and have a huge presence in another six districts of the province. However, more than 155,000 people have cast their votes in Baghlan. Only 74,441 people have cast their votes in Balkh province.

When you compare the volatile Nangarhar province in the east where both Taliban and Daesh militants are actively operating with Herat a relatively secure province in the west, there are a huge difference in the number of votes cast. Nangarhar turnout is 255,052 while Herat turnout is only 120,056.

In some cases, the initial turnout announced by provincial electoral commissions and the figures provided by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) main office are conflicting numbers.

As an instance, the IEC announced that nearly 20 thousand voters have cast their votes in the province while the IEC provincial office claims that 32 thousand voters have cast their ballot in the province.

“We counted the votes of another 15 districts including Pul-e-Alam and it is more than 32,000 votes,” said Irangul Raghand, the Chief of IEC Logar office.

Officials in the electoral bodies have insisted that all non-biometric votes are invalid.

Mohammad Reza Fiaz, a spokesman for the Indpendent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) said that they will investigate all complaints and biometric verification of votes is their red line.

This comes after IEC on Tuesday estimated that nearly 2.6 million votes were cast in the Afghan presidential election that took place on September 28 across the country.

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