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Electoral watchdog worried about election security

AT-KABUL: The Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA), an electoral watchdog says security threats against the October 20 legislative election still remained worrying.

“Unfortunately, some parliament candidates were killed in different provinces. This shows that either their security is not considered serious or there is a discord between the candidates and security organs,” Yousuf Rashid, head of FEFA said Wednesday.

A suicide bomber targeted a campaign rally Tuesday in the southern province of Helmand, killing at least nine people including Saleh Mohammad Achakzai, a candidate for the parliament. The attack also left many more wounded.

Prior to that, eight candidates were killed by unknown armed men in the eastern province of Nangarhar and other areas, as Taliban militants have vowed to target election and those who were working for a successful election.

However, ministries of defense and interior have repeatedly assured people of their “special programs” during the election and providing security for the candidates and their supporters.

“All police forces have been ordered across the country not to withhold any effort to provide security for the candidates and their campaigns,” said Najib Danesh, interior ministry spokesman, asking the candidates to share their programs with police.

“The army has started offensive and clearance operations since last month for the security of election and the soldiers are ready to ensure security,” defense ministry spokesman, Ghafoor Javed said.

Despite assurances by the security bodies, political and military experts take Taliban’s threat serious.

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