KABUL (Pajhwok): Amid predicted fears of an upsurge in Taliban violence and voting along ethnic lines, the Afghans will decide which of two presidential candidates will be their next president on June 14.
In the first round on April 5, Abdullah won 45 percent of the vote, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai 32 percent, and the other candidates were a long way behind. Because no one got 50 per cent of the vote, a run-off was called.
Abdullah and Ghani have held out countless promises to the masses, who seem tired of the long-drawn out electoral process.
Pajhwok Afghan News has complied 50 major promises each made by the two frontrunners with Afghans during their election campaigns.
Abdullah’s 50 major promises
The former foreign minister, who finished second behind President Karzai in the 2009 elections, has held out many promises mostly during his trips to provinces as part of his election campaign in the lead up to the first round and then the runoff.
Abdullah’s promises mostly concern economic and infrastructural projects and reforms in government.
Daikundi: Abdullah has promised the construction of Gardan Diwal Road, which connects Kabul western Herat province via central provinces. The road is 700 kilometers long. It starts from Gardan Diwal area of Hesa Awal district of Maidan Wardak province and passes through Bamyan, Daikundi, Ghor and reaches to Herat.
Daikundi, Abdullah has promised to resolve the problem of potable water and agriculture through building dams.
Ghor: Abdullah promises the construction of roads, dams, the development of agriculture sector and the establishment of a university in Ghor.
Nimroz: Abdullah will promote the province to first grade from the current second grade. He will resume and complete the construction work on Kamal Khan Dame and the airfield.
Nimroz: He also promised Nimroz people, who consume contaminated water currently, the supply of clean drinking water.
Parwan: If he wins the election, Abdullah said he will construct dams in this central province and similar projects in Panjsher.
Paktia: Abdullah will reconstruct the Machelgho Dam and will develop the province from the grade second to first.
Ghazni: First of all, Abdullah says he will ensure security in Ghazni and then will create jobs. He will construct highways and establish a university here and will improve electricity and establish cold storages for farmers.
Farah: If wins, he will construct Bakhsh Abad Dam on a priority basis and roads linking Farah City to districts, besides ensuring security.
Bamyan: The completion of of North-South corridor, an alternative route to using the Salang highway, through Bamyan. Abdullah has promised the reconstruction of roads as one of priorities in Bamyan, where he will end power load-shedding and establish cold storages for agriculture products. He will put to end problems nomads have with local residents. His other reconstruction promises include the Kilagai Dam.
Kunduz: Abdullah says we will reconstruct the Spin Zar enterprises and construct the ring road, a retaining wall along the Amu River, besides improving agriculture and implementing the master plan for Kunduz City as our priorities.
Nangarhar: Reconstruction of Nangarhar Canal, construction of Behsud Bridge, Khogyani-Jalalabad road, Torkham-Jalalabad road and Kabul-Jalalabad highway are part of Abdullah’s infrastructure development projects in Jalalabad.
Building dams on the Kunar and Kama rivers and micro hydropower plants on Spinghar outskirts.
Kandahar: He will maintain electricity supply as needed to Kandahar, where he will establish religious schools to prevent Afghan youth from going to neighboring countries in pursuit of religious studies.
Parwan: The revival of Jabalus Saraj Cement Factory, the construction of Qamchaq Dam in Seyah Gard district and building a dam on the Panjsher River.
Khost: Construction of Khost-Gardez highway, rehabilitation of Ghulam Khan dry port, connecting Khost University with foreign universities and post graduate classes for Khost University lecturers.
Improving Khost Airfield on regional level, creating job opportunities, promoting education, changing Khost into a transit trade hub, establishing industrial parks and extending electricity to the province from Kabul are his promises with Khostis.
Abdullah will support the private sector and domestic production will be his top priority. In next five years, he said he will create at least a million jobs.
Badakhshan: He will revive the Silk Road section that connects Badakhshan with China through Baharak, Warduj and Shkashim districts.
Takhar: Abdullah has promised creating jobs opportunities, appointing the youth on government positions, facilities in districts, dams’ construction on Kokcha River and connecting Darqad district with Takhar province.
Balkh: Here he has promised implementing a special programme for people with disabilities and the families of martyrs.
On culture, social and religion affairs
Kabul: Abdullah will consider demands of religious scholars. In Kabul, he has promised sportsmen facilities necessary for the development of various games.
Kabul: If wins, Abdullah will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the US as a priority. We will not tolerate any discrimination in his government, in which all people will take part. We will find solution to problems facing nomads and residents under the law. He also promised accountability of government and fulfilling his promises.
Ghor: Based on the people’s request and in consideration with the country’s laws, we will create a new province “Daizangi” covering areas in Ghor, Daikundi and Bamyan.
Balkh: We will convert the youth’s affairs department into a ministry.
Takhar: His government will spend 40% of the national budget in provinces and local entities to address people’s problems in different fields.
Kabul: Here Abdullah has said his government will maintain friendly relations with neighbouring country, but at the same time will defend the country and the people.
Paktia: Honest work and respect to all tribes without any discrimination.
Khost: Appoints employing elites on high government posts.
Kabul: Equal law implementation throughout the country.
Kabul: Will strictly fight corruption and narcotics.
Building relations with international community the basis of mutual respect.
Human Rights, Women Rights
Kabul: Abdullah says he will pave the ground for women to get education, improve their economy, and maintain justice and ensuring their rights in the society.
Kabul: He says the absence of law curbing violation of women rights is a problem, and we will address it during our first days in government.
Paktia: We will allow no one to fuel tribal divisions.
Refugees and internally displaced people:
Balkh: Abdullah will facilitate refugees in returning home and providing them with facilities in the country.
About the armed opponents:
Kabul: Ensuring peace and protecting the national interest are among our priorities.
Kabul: For bringing peace, there should be an understanding among the Afghans and we will take trust building measures in this respect. The logical solution lies in talks under the Constitution and reaching practical results.
Ghani’s top 50 promises with Afghans
Presidential candidate Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai top 50 promises include those he made on
TV screen during debates and on campaign trips as part of his campaign in the lead up to the first and then the second round of election.
Jawzjan: I would develop gas resources and establish a research university where engineers and workers will receive education on petroleum products.
Jawzjan: Gas reserves in this northern province should be utilised for power generation and should be extended to neighbouring provinces as well.
Kabul: No one will remain homeless during my five years of leadership. We would take measures in support of investments in Afghanistan. We will enforce laws first on Gen Dostum and Sarwar Danish, my first and second vice-presidents.
Helmand: We will pay special attention to repairing Kajaki dam. We would find market for Helmand cotton crop.
Kabul: We will turn border provinces into transit trade hubs.
Kunduz: We will convert Kunduz into world’s transit centre, and would invest on Shirkhan dry port to extend a railway line through the border.
Kunduz: Embankment of Amu River, promoting agriculture, establishing an agriculture university, developing the airport and Kunduz City, creating two more districts, improving private sector and handicrafts are among Ghani’s primary goals.
Khost: Ghani has said he would upgrade the Khost airport into an international airport and would work on asphalting Ghulam Khan Road.
Paktia: My leadership will change this province into a transit trade center and construct water dams including Machghlo dam.
Nangarhar: This province would be turned into a power producing center. We have plans to build an Islamic university on international level in Nangarhar. The province would be promoted into an industrial center so our products are exported to foreign countries. We will construct Nangarhar canal and keep water from flowing into deserts.
Kandahar: Converting Kandahar into a transit trade center on regional level, constructing a railroad in Spin Boldak, extending Turkmenistan gas pipe through the province, asphalting a dual road from Kandahar to Uruzgan, the reconstruction of townships under the National Solidarity Programme.
Bamyan: We will promote tourism, reconstruction, asphalting Bamyan-Herat highway and connecting northern provinces to southern provinces via Bamyan highway.
Herat: Establishing the Herat-Iran railroad, facilitating exports from the Herat Airport to foreign countries, managing and controlling Herat waters, extending a gas pipe line to Herat from Turkmenistan. Changing Herat into an international transit trade center and providing a safe environment for investors.
Faryab: Constructing railway lines to Aqina port connecting it to the Hiratan port in Balkh, Shiberghan port in Kunduz and finally Turkmenistan. Promoting the province into a trade center, encouraging investments in the Aqina port near Turkmenistan border, reviving the Khawajah Qaichi dam, accelerating work pace on Almar dam, extending Faryab-Badghis highway, promoting carpets industry, converting Faryab into an agriculture warehouse.
Faryab: We would convert Faryab into a rich province by developing its mines.
Badakhshan: First of all, we would revive the Silk Road road between Badakhshan and China.
Kabul: We would promote Islamic banking in Kabul.
Kabul: We will investigate the Kabul Bank crisis and bring those involved to justice.
Religious, social and cultural affairs:
Kabul: Converting Afghanistan into a world’s Islamic knowledge center, building madrasas everywhere in Afghanistan in order Afghans avoid seeking Islamic knowledge outside of the country.
We would bridge the gap between the Presidential Palace and mosques. We would respect ulema’s rights.
Promoting country’s official languages.
Kabul: Ghani has promised he will bring to justice criminals and will increase liaison between police and judiciary through a legal system.
Kandahar: He will introduce 10-year passport to combat corruption.
Kabul: He promised reforms in the municipality and turning Kabul into the most modern city in terms of reconstruction and strong government institututes.
Kabul: He will bring into being a department controlling government’s properties and taking those grabbed.
Security and military affairs
Ghani will establish the high headquarters of Afghan security forces to strengthen security.
He will protect the rights of the families of martyrs and fallen soldiers and will assist people with disabilities. He will appreciate security officers who performed well. Illegal armed individuals will be dealt with the law and those involved in war crimes and human rights violations will be taken to courts.
Nangarhar: Ghani says he will turn eastern provinces into peace centre.
Badakhshan: He will strengthen Afghan National Army nationwide, besides equipping and training them. He will increase police deployment and strengthen their hold in provinces like Badakhshan.
Education and higher studies
Kabul: First of all, Ghani says they will ensure a peaceful environment to education so that ninth class students have the ability to play their role in the society’s administrative and financial affairs and are able to protect themselves and contribute to the country’s development. Students of 9th and 12th class will be made mentally ready to pursue higher studies.
Ghani says he gives priority to education that enables students to start their career after two years into university instead of four years. We have much preparations for those who were unable to complete their studies due insecurity, economic constrains and cultural restrictions.
The university entrance system will be completely overhauled. Schools will be standardized through teaching methodology so students are not deprived of higher studies.
The youth deprived of education will be semi-educated within 10 weeks under a special programme based international experiments.
Ghani will increase the number of lady doctors in order to reduce child-mother mortality rate. He will try to install advanced medical technology at hospitals and building the capacity of doctors and specialists. He will give special attention to the health of child and youth, calling life insurance critical. He will establish teaching hospitals.
Human and particularly women’s rights
Kabul: Ghani will give greater representation to women in his government. Women’s education and health services top his priorities. He will establish first grade women’s university. His government will award stern punishment to those mistreating women. He will appoint a female Supreme Court judge to handle women’s cases.
Badakhshan: Ghani says women have the ability to work in government offices. He will strengthen women’s capacity and offer them government jobs.
Freedom of speech
Ghani will give legal cover to the freedom of speech in his government. He will define limits on the freedom of speech in cooperation with civil society to bring about a independent national culture. Ghani says he will pursue the cases of slain journalists.
Refugees and internally displaced persons
Kabul: A dignified return of refugees and their settlement at home is one of our priorities, says Ghani. He says they turn the repatriation of Afghan refugees into a serious effort under a programme. We will explore ways how to improve their economy. We will set up businesses like poultry farms, beekeeping and fish farms for returning Afghans.
We will provide refugees all health and education facilities and integrate them into the mainstream politics.
Ghani says he will issue passports to Afghans living in Arab countries with Pakistani passports
Herat: We will build homes for the displaced families in Heart and will bring back Afghans living in Pakistan’s Quetta city.
Peace with Taliban
Ghani says peace will be brought to the country with the help of religious scholars.
He said the government’s stance with peace talks with the armed opposition forces will be decided with national consensus in order to establish lasting peace.
National sovereignty is one of our top priorities. We urge the armed opposition, particularly the Taliban to present their proposals and recommendations on national unity and reaching a national political consensus for the creation of an effective system.
We prefer mercy over revenge in light of Islamic teachings. A lasting peace means all sides give preference to forgiving over revenge. We should arrive at Islamic consensus on the basis of Islamic and national interests.