KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (AIEC) has taken appropriate measures to avert possible rigging in the August 20 simultaneous presidential and provincial councils' elections.

Speaking at a press conference here on Monday, the AIEC deputy secretary Zakaria Barakzai said they had bought high quality indelible ink and ballot papers as a step to prevent rigging.

"We first examined the ink and thoroughly checked the ballot papers before buying them," Barakzai said. In addition, he added, the electoral materials were strictly observed during their shifting to the provinces as another attempt towards that end.

He said the voters would be given stamped ballot papers before they are placed in the ballot boxes while the ballot papers without a stamp would not be recognised.

All the ballot papers and the boxes had been registered with the concerned polling stations and booths to know about their whereabouts, he continued.

"Locks of the boxes have serial numbers which are registered with the AIEC and the boxes will be opened according to their serial numbers after collection from the provinces," he said.

He explained all the AIEC officials in the provinces would be also asked for accountability as the ballot papers being sent to provincial centres had already been registered with the electoral body.

"Concerns about rigging in elections are not new as it is a global issue," he said. The indelible Silver Nitrate Ink was also examined in Monday's press conference.

The electoral official further said that essential electoral materials had been sent to 18 provinces and for remaining 16 provinces, the materials were ready to be sent.

He said so far the AIEC has accredited 13 domestic observer groups, 19 international observer organisations, 38 national media outlets, 40 international media organisations and 20 political parties to date.

37 presidential aspirants are in the run for the presidency.

According to AIEC officials, around 17 million voting cards had been distributed across the country and around 7000 polling stations had been established countrywide.

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