KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Promising elaborate security measures on the election day, the governor on Sunday assured government officials would maintain their neutrality during the democratic exercise throughout southeastern Khost province.
Abdul Jabbar Naeemi was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with security officials at his office in Khost City, the provincial capital.
After the meeting that discussed security situation in the lead up to and during the June 14 presidential runoff election, Naeemi said no government official, including him, would support any of the two frontrunners.
“This is our clear stance,” he remarked, saying no civilian or military official would be allowed to interference in the electoral process.
The governor assured the people of Khost that there would be tight security arraignments in place during the election, when all security organs would protect polling sites in close coordination.
Khost police chief Col. Faizullah Ghairat said they were working on a joint security plan with other security departments.
As a result of the plan’s implementation, he said, 497 polling stations set up in nearly 200 polling centre would stay open on the election day.
He said all security officials had been directed not to interfere in the election affairs.
Ghairat said special security operations had been launched in the provincial capital, Khost City, and a number of other areas to remove hurdles in the way of holding the election.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Nasir Hidyat, commander of the 203rd Thunder Military Corps first battalion in Khost, said people’s concerns about possible rocket attacks on some polling sites were real.
However, he said to prevent and effectively respond to rocket attacks, artilleries had been deployed at all sensitive locations.
He said a total of 5000 army personnel had been tasked with assisting other security forces in maintaining security during the election across the province.
However, residents say they are concerned about possible rigging, insecurity and interference by government officials in the election.
A white-bearded man in Matoon area of Khost City, Baryalai, told Pajhwok Afghan News that no one could guarantee the prevention of rigging.
A women’s civil society group member, Mehboba, said she was worried about females’ participation in the election in remote parts due to insecurity.
She said women were interested in the election but insecurity could keep them away.
Another 108 polling centre comprising 589 stations have been added to the existing number of polling sites, with officials saying none would stay shut on the voting day.
Independent Election Commission official in Khost Sahibuddin Zadran had earlier told Pajhwok that he was satisfied with security arrangements put in place for the runoff election.
In the previous elections on April 5, nearly 110,000 people had voted in Khost.