Afghan polls: EU neutrality promised

JALALABAD (Pajhwok): The European Union (EU) would impartially observe Afghanistan’s presidential and provincial council polls due on April 5 to ensure a credible vote, members of an EU feasibility study team told officials in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday.
The team has been in Afghanistan over the past few days to assess the situation ahead of deploying a potential EU poll observation mission to assist and monitor the landmark elections, a historic political transition from one elected government to another.
Headed by Alfred Grannas, the EU deputy head of delegation to Afghanistan, the visiting delegates met with Nangarhar Governor Maulvi Attaullah Ludin and local election and government officials.
Ludin’s spokesman Ahmad Zia told Pajhwok Afghan News the EU delegation held a meeting with the governor at his office late Tuesday. Other senior local officials were present at the meeting, he said.
He said the delegation arrived in Nangarhar to evaluate preparations and security measures so far taken in the lead-up to the fast-approaching elections.
He quoted Grance as saying the EU had sent the team from Brussels following a proposal from the Afghan government to study the situation ahead of the polls.
They would hold talks with authorities in Kabul and other provinces before presenting their findings to EU officials back in Brussels.
 Ludin told the delegation Afghans were ready and prepared to embrace two historic events this year --- the landmark polls and the fifth phase of the security transition.
The governor identified bolstering security, tackling administrative graft and ensuring the rule of law among his top priorities.
Nangarhar Independent Election Commission (IEC) head Dr. Akhtar Mohammad Ajmal and deputy police briefed the visiting delegation on preparations relating to holding elections and maintaining security.

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