Tuesday 24 July 2018 - 04:53

UN denounces use of violence to obstruct elections in Afghanistan

Story Code : 739874
Afghan security personnel carry an injured officer after an attack near the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan on July 22, 2018. (Photo by AP)
Afghan security personnel carry an injured officer after an attack near the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan on July 22, 2018. (Photo by AP)

"The Security Council stresses the importance of a secure environment for conducting elections, condemns in the strongest terms those who resort to violence to obstruct the electoral process, including the Taliban and ISlL (Daesh) affiliates," it said in a statement on Monday.

The world body also commended "the resiliency, progress, and exceptional courage displayed by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in their leading role in securing their country."

The UN body reaffirmed its strong commitment to Afghanistan's "sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity" and threw its weight behind "the Afghan electoral process as a fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process."

The statement came a day after nearly 23 people were killed and at least 14 others injured in a bombing carried out at the Kabul International Airport, where scores had gathered to welcome home Afghanistan's Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who had been in exile.

Kabul police spokesman, Hashmat Stanekzai, said the bomb attack hit near the airport's main entrance, where supporters were waiting to greet Dostum. He had left the airport in a motorcade only minutes before the explosion, which officials said appeared to have been caused by a bomber.

Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the deadly blast. The Daesh-affiliated Amaq news agency said the bomber detonated his suicide jacket at a gathering to receive the vice president.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, said in a report on July 15 that the number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan’s long-running conflict hit a record high of 1,692 fatalities in the first six months of 2018.

UNAMA added that the death toll was one percent higher than a year earlier and the highest since the group began keeping records in 2009. Militant attacks and bombings were reported as the leading causes of the deaths in the war-torn country.

The Security Council's statement also said that more than 8.9 million Afghans, including more than three million women, had registered to exercise their democratic right to vote at the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections on October 20 and in the next year's presidential elections.

It "underscores the importance of developing sustainable democratic institutions in Afghanistan based on inclusive, transparent and credible elections, and stresses the need to promote the full and safe participation of women as well as members of minority groups, including ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, both as voters and candidates."

Security has been a main deterrent to Afghanistan’s ability to hold the parliamentary elections some three years after an original five-year mandate of the legislature ended in 2015.

The war-torn country has struggled to ensure security in registration centers as many still suspect Kabul could hold the elections on time.

The elections, viewed as a prelude to Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential vote, come amid increased attacks by Taliban and other militant groups across the country. Militants have even warned civilians that they should stay away from key government-run positions, including polling stations.