Political Landscape

Afghanistan’s 2019 Election (16): Signs of fraud in Zabul


A tribal elder casting his voting in Kandak high school of Qalat (Zabul), looking for the person who would take biometric data.

A tribal elder casting his voting in Kandak high school of Qalat (Zabul), looking for the person who would take biometric data. Photo: author

In largely Taleban-controlled Zabul province, there are considerable discrepancies between the reported turnout and what was observed on the ground. After a very quiet campaign and fighting near the provincial capital and in all districts on election day, it was not a surprise to see very few voters in the polling centres in Qalat city. At the end of the day, however, local Independent Election Commission staff claimed that between 30 and 90 per cent of registered voters had turned out to vote in various polling centres in the city, with matching figures from some of the districts. It is unclear what these high turnout figures are based on and to what extent they will be supported by the biometric data, the results sheets and the number of ballots in the boxes, but the discrepancy between what was observed and what is being reported suggest that somewhere in the process numbers have been inflated. In what may be a close election, implausible turnout and vote tallies – and how well they are scrutinised and addressed by the IEC – will be one of the main issues to watch. Aref Zabuli* brings this report from Zabul (with input from Thomas Ruttig).

General information

Zabul is a largely rural, largely Pashtun province in the Afghan south with a population of 371,000, according to the data used by the Independent Election Commission (IEC). The stretch of the national ring road linking neighbouring Kandahar province with Kabul runs through it. The province is heavily contested and the Taleban are in complete control of two of its eleven districts – Daychopan and Kakar, aka Khakeran or Khak-e Afghan (1) – and much of the countryside in the remaining ones. The government’s military presence in the province is mainly confined to the provincial capital and some district centres. No district governor lives in his district, all are staying either in Qalat or Kandahar. (A more detailed AAN dispatch on the province’s security is forthcoming.) Under these circumstances, it was always going to be difficult to hold an inclusive election, or even any election at all.

Map of Zabul province. By: Roger Helms

For Zabul’s 66,489 registered voters, the IEC had originally designed 46 polling centres: (2) 29 located in the eight districts not controlled by the Taleban and 17 in the provincial capital Qalat, including some of its rural suburbs (see here for the list).

57,531 of the voters registered for the 2018 parliamentary election were men, 3,363 women and 3,829 kuchis (nomads of both genders). Voters reportedly registered in only 44 of the polling centres which the IEC had decided to open).

In the 2018 parliamentary election, Zabul reported a turnout (valid votes) of 12,980, or 21.3 per cent of registered voters.

The one-month election campaign period in Qalat was quiet. None of the candidates visited the province. Only a few days before the election, it became a bit more lively when two pro-Ghani members of parliament, Abdul Qader Qalatwal and Zahra Tokhi, arrived in Qalat on 25 September. They held meetings with the local mutanafezin (influential people), such as tribal leaders, and asked them to mobilise their supporters to vote for the president. The head of the provincial council, Haji Atta Jan Haqbayan, another strong Ghani supporter, received a phone call from the president during such a meeting in one of the local campaign offices. During the call, which was put on speaker for the whole meeting, Ghani called on the people of Zabul to come out of their homes without fear on this “historical election day” and to vote for him.

As in other parts of the country, AAN encountered some election fatigue among voters. For example, Haji Muhammad Karim, a tribal elder of Qalat who had family members working in the city’s IEC office, explained in the evening of election day his reasons for not voting:

I didn’t vote [this time] because when we voted in 2018 and 2014 our vote had no influence on the success or failure of any candidate. […] The winners of those presidential, provincial and last year’s parliamentary elections are those who involved themselves in a lot of corruption and in fraud. This time, fewer than 3,000 people may have voted in the whole province, but now […] IEC officials claim 30,000 votes. This is a big shame for them. I will never ever again vote.

Election day security

The situation of the government in Zabul province suffered a further setback in the week before the election when the Taleban took the district centre of Shajuy, directly on the ring road. Traffic on the ring road was interrupted by the fighting which continued on election day.

Additionally, the Taleban forced all telephone networks in the province to close down, starting at 4 pm on the afternoon before the election. Only in a perimeter of three kilometres around and in Qalat city itself were the Salaam and Roshan networks still working. It meant no IEC staff in any district was in contact with the provincial centre.

On the morning of election day, small and heavy weapons fire in Qalat’s suburbs was audible in the city. Around 10.30 am, the Taleban also fired a missile into the city, hitting the relocated provincial hospital’s emergency room where, according to security officials, two patients were slightly injured. (3) Fighting was reported from all districts with designated polling centres: Tarnak wa Jaldak (formerly known as Shahr-e Safa, with eight planned polling centres (PC), Shinkay (four PCs), Shumulzayi and Arghandab (three PCs each) and Mizan, Nawbahar and Atghar (one PC each). In Shumulzayi and Mizan, the district centres were attacked.

Contradictory figures on polling stations

There has since been confusion over the number of polling stations. On the day after the election (29 September), Zabul Provincial Police Chief Najibullah Sartir said “all” 36 polling centres in the province, with 196 polling stations among them, had opened on election day, 32 of them on time at 7 am. This, however, is ten centres fewer than the number of planned polling centres listed on the IEC website, something which Sartir did not refer to or explain.

When the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for electoral site security, announced a countrywide reduction of 431 centres on 19 September, it did not mention Zabul. Yet, on the day before the election, provincial council head Haji Haqbayan told AAN that four centres, in the rural areas of Spina Ghbarga and Khwazo Kelai in Qalat district (code numbers 2601015 and 2601016), Nawa Alamgul of Mizan (2604039) and Dab Kotal mosque of Shinkay (2603030), would be closed due to high security threats, and that only 32 polling centres would open on the day of the election.

What happened: Low visible turnout, high figures reported

1. Qalat

Starting in the late morning hours (the author did not go earlier due to the shooting), AAN visited eight polling centres in Qalat, one of them in the rural suburbs, and saw only a few people in each, with the one exception of the provincial hospital (2601004). Taleban firing in Qalat’s suburbs appeared to be a factor persuading potential voters to stay at home.

In several polling centres, the IEC staff refused to show the documents that registered how many people had voted there. In these places the observer had to rely on what he saw while he was present or on what other people told him.

In Sheikh Mati High School (2601006), AAN saw 18 men, some of them observers, who had just cast their votes, and three or four people voting. In Tarnak school (listed as ‘Kandak school’ by the IEC; 2601007), the author saw six voters and some observers. In Bibi Khala High School (2601005), a group of 13 women who wanted to vote, including the provincial director of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Maryam Suleimankhel, were in the middle of an argument with IEC staff. Seven of the women were refusing to be photographed and were sent away without being allowed to cast their ballots. At this time, there was still shooting audible in the suburbs.

A citizen (name withheld) who cast his vote in the Sheikh Mati High School after AAN had visited told AAN later that he had not seen any other voter or observer there, only IEC staff. Some of the staff who were his schoolmates told him “no one” was casting their votes there. Yet, he said, the written record indicated that 470 people had already voted. Another voter (name withheld) who went to cast his voteat TarnakHigh School at 11:34 am, again after AAN had visited, said the log said only 29 people had voted there at the timeand he did not see any other voter while he was there.

In Jaru La School polling centre (2601011with seven male and one female poling stations), ten kilometres north of Qalat city at around 2:30 pm, AAN saw only two people who had just cast their votes and were about to leave. At the centre were IEC staff, observers of the Election Complaints Commission (ECC), Ghani and Abdullah agents and observers of the non-governmental Transparent Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) and Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) . The two voters, who were from nearby Omaki village (names withheld), said they had not come voluntarily, but had been forced to vote by (unidentified) “government forces” in their village. Two days earlier, they said, Taleban had come to the village and threatened to punish people if they voted, so most people had decided not to vote. By 2:45 pm, 78 people had been recorded as voting in the seven male stations, as AAN saw; AAN was not allowed to check the female station.

The one exception to the quietude of E-Day in Qalat city was the polling centre at the provincial hospital (2601004), which was more crowded. When AAN visited at 1:30 pm, there was a queue of 37 people waiting to vote. There was good order and professional, respectful IEC staff; the majority of them were graduates of the university in Qalat. The Biometric Voter Verification (BVV) devices were working. Agents and observers of Ghani, Abdullah, TEFA and FEFA were all observing the process very closely. At that time, the polling centre records seen by AAN showed that 653 people had voted.

The two additional voting hours given by the IEC did not appear to significantly bring up the turnout. Around 4:15 pm, at the Rasala Girls School polling centre (2601008), there were just six voters waiting in line. IEC staff claimed that 344 people had voted so far. There, AAN was not given access to the polling data, both on the male and the female side. No Ghani or Abdullah or other candidates’ agents were to be seen at this polling centre; ECC staff and other observers were outside, drinking tea. In the Sinak Girls School polling centre (2601009), around 4:45 pm, IEC staff and ECC, FEFA, TEFA, Ghani, Abdullah and Hekmatyar observers were present but no voters. The staff and observers all said they were happy with the process. The IEC staff in this centre told AAN it had logged 987 people as having voted but did not show the records. The female poling station was already closed by that point due to the lack of voters.

When AAN revisited the three schools, where in the late morning only a handful of voters had been present, the IEC said that several hundred people had cast their votes: Sheikh Mati High School had allegedly recorded 784 male voters; Bibi Khala 466 female voters and Tarnak High School 344 male voters. The IEC staff gave these figures but denied AAN to have a look at the logbook. Already, these reported figures appeared unlikely given the fighting in the suburbs, the missile fire and the few voters that were seen.

In the Chawney School polling centre (2601003) AAN was also not allowed to see the records of how many people had voted when visiting briefly before noon. At that time, there were nine men queuing to vote. FEFA observers, IEC staff and Abdullah, Ghani and Hekmatyar candidate agents were all outside the polling site, not observing the proceedings.

At Rasala Girls School, where in the late afternoon AAN had seen six voters and had been told by IEC staff that 344 voters had come, at the end of the day (105 minutes later), the IEC said they had recorded 1,334 voters (which represents around half – 48.4 per cent – of all 2,755 voters that registered at that centre).

IEC staff at various polling centres told AAN the following turnout figures at the end of the day – nowhere AAN was allowed to check:

Sheikh Mati High School 2,426 votes reported (of 3,679 voters registered, ie 65.9%) – Here, the author witnessed the counting at polling station no 2, a station for men, which came up with 122 votes casts.

Bibi Khala High School 1,285 votes reported (of 4,090 = 31.4%)

Tarnak High School 1,866 votes reported (3,189 = 58.5%).

Provincial hospital polling centre 3,758 votes reported

Sinak Girls School 858 votes reported (of 1,939 = 44.2%)

Kharwaryan (listed as Sur Ghar School; 2601010) (not visited by AAN) votes reported 1,123 (of 1,244 = 90.3%).

The voter who had told AAN about his observations at Sheikh Mati High School called his friends among the IEC staff in the evening, after he heard the reported high turnout figure and asked how it had happened. “They did not know either,” he told AAN.

A civil society activist from Qalat told AAN that he asked the IEC staff at Tarnak school in the evening how the high number of voters materialised. He said they replied, “We did this; we work for Ghani.“ He also said there were no observers present at the counting there.

The reported figures do not match the observations at all, particularly since IEC staff, FEFA and TEFA observers and observers from the Ghani and Abdullah campaign teams all described the biometric devices in Qalat City as working very slowly. Some said that the IEC staff were ‘not professional enough’ to operate them. It took each voter on average around five minutes to go through the voting procedure in the three poling centres observed. It would be expected that, with a high turnout and a slow process, polling stations would be visibly crowded.

Not a very long queue at Kandak/Tarnak High School, Qalat, in Zabul province, in the morning of election day. Photo: author.

In the Sheikh Mati, Chawney, Bibi Khala and Tarnak polling centres, the author saw no result sheets displayed outside after the counting, and also not the next morning when he checked again. A local journalist (who had visited six polling centres in Qalat) and the civil society activist (who had visited three) also said they had not seen any results sheets displayed at the polling centres they checked. The journalist added that local residents he had asked about this also told him they had not seen any result sheets.

2. The districts

Reports from the districts, especially Shajuy just to the north of Qalat, raise yet more doubts about the reported turnout – as well as the votes that are claimed to have been cast. On election day at around 11 am, a 150-strong government force had managed to push the Taleban out of Shajuy’s district centre after heavy fighting, involving airstrikes. The army that brought in IEC staff was reported to have then opened all seven polling centres in the district, four in the provincial centre and three in an area close to Qalat. However, according to two local elders and another resident reached by AAN, no voters were seen at that time.Then, phone connections broke down and AAN could get no more reports on the situation. In the evening, an IEC worker in Shajuy (who wants to remain anonymous) told AAN that 8,940 votes were cast in the district, out of 14,970 registered voters, a percentage of 59.7 per cent. In the 2018 parliamentary election, in Shajuy it was just 19.2 per cent.

AAN did manage to speak to the two elders and the other resident on the day after the election. They told AAN those turnout figures were implausible as the district centre bazaar had remained closed after the fighting. The resident told AAN: “No one is allowed to come out of their homes, so how is it possible we voted?” One elder said there might be a maximum of 150 votes cast – from the local ANA unit that had recaptured the town. Other local sources said genuine voting had been mainly taking place in the part of Shajuy that is close to Qalat and under control of an Afghan Local Police unit, where three out of the district’s seven polling centres are located: Holan Robat clinic (2606058; 2,289 registered voters), Ghulam Robat Maland school (2606060; 589 registered voters) and Baba Hotak high school (2606055; 5,692 registered voters). To reach a total of almost 9,000 votes in Shajuy, either practically all voters will have had to come out to vote in these three polling stations – and a few more elsewhere – or a significant number of voters will have had to also turn out in the rest of Shajuy district, despite the fighting. Both scenarios are highly unlikely.

In Shinkay district, with four planned polling centres, IEC staff were brought in by ANA helicopter two days before the election and were supposed to set up an office at the joint police headquarters and district governor compound, according to local elders. However, the elders said the ANA battalion commander had kept the IEC staff at his headquarters. The problem was later solved by the intervention of the provincial police commander in Qalat, and the ANA reportedly stopped interfering.Shinkay reported 1,580 votes cast out of a total of 2,590 registered voters: 1,180 in the polling station located in the district centre (Shah Alam High School; 2603028, out of 2,190 registered voters) and 400 in Surai (IEC: Sewri) School (2603032; 1,133 registered voters).

In the evening of election day, local IEC staff reported the following turnout from other districts to AAN:

Shumulzayi 4,000 (of 5,600 registered voters)– Local sources confirmed to AAN that two of the district’s three designated polling centres were open: the Shumulzayi district clinic (2610089; with 2,285 registered voters) and Mir Wais Khan school (2610083; 2,212 registered voters) in Zanzir, a town some 20 kilometres outside the district centre where a border police unit is based. The district centre has a military base manned by ANA, ANP and NDS. However, even if the security forces voted in mass, the locally-reported turnout still seems extremely high, with around 1,900 cast (83.1% of registered voters) in Shumulzayi centre and around 2,100 in Zanzir (94.9%).

Tarnak wa Jaldak 400 (of 5,390 registered voters)– Here, fighting had only stopped at 3 pm, according to local sources.

Atghar district (1,436 registered voters) – A local IEC official told AAN there had been just three voters – the district governor who had travelled there for the election from Qalat and his two body guards. Even the local IEC officials did not cast their votes.

Arghandab 300 (of 375registered voters)

Mizan 590 (of 2,073 registered voters)

The IEC’s formal and informal turnout figures

IEC officials in Qalat told AAN on 29 September that around 15,600 people had voted in the city. They did not have figures yet from the districts at that point. Separately, a source close to the Zabul provincial governor told AAN Kabul in the same evening, that around 38,000 votes had been cast altogether in Zabul, 5,000 to 7,000 of them by women. This figure has also been used by the head of the IEC in Qalat.

The IEC nationally (in its press conference held on the evening of 29 September) gave the – partial – number of votes counted in Zabul at that point as 17,579 and said these had been cast in 22 polling centres. This would have already represented a turnout of 26.5 per cent. The latest IEC information published on 4 October on the Facebook page of one of the commissioners, states that Zabul province reported a turnout of 18,378 from 36 open polling centres (27.6% of the total registered votes – which would be six per cent points more than in the 2018 parliamentary election).

IEC officials and agents of the Ghani campaign told AAN on the evening of election day that “99 per cent” of the votes were in favour of the president. The provincial head of Dr Abdullah’s campaign, Haji Azizullah, told AAN: “All local authorities and army and police openly supported Ghani and pushed for votes for him. When there were ten votes [during the counting], they counted 100.” He also alleged that on 30 September, the day after the polls, ballot stuffing was ongoing in Shajoy district. Furthermore, he claimed that ballot boxes without locks where being brought from the districts and stuffed in Qalat. He said he had sources in the IEC provincial office who had told him that in the whole province, only around 1,500 people had actually voted.

The Qalat civil society activist suggested something similar – although less stark – when he said that “due to big security problems in the districts and even in Qalat” his estimate was that probably 2-4,000 votes had been cast in the provincial capital and maybe 4-5,000 altogether in the province. He thought the turnout figure in Shumulzayi might be closer to 150 and 200, and that in Shinkay “not even ten people“ would have voted. He said, “I went around the city [Qalat], and saw almost no people. Normal people were not coming out because of the fighting.” He thought most voters in the districts, apart from some areas under ALP or border police control, would be army and police personnel deployed there. The local journalist also estimated that 4,000 votes in Qalat would be more realistic, but gave no estimate for the districts. The officially reported turnout in Shumulzayi district was also doubted by a political activist in Kabul who originates from the area; he told AAN “the [bad] security situation” would not allow this.

Threadbare observation 

Observers were thin on the ground in Zabul. IEC officials in Qalat told AAN they had issued around 500 observation cards to election observer organisations FEFA and TEFA, campaign offices and local journalists. But, with the exception of Ghani campaign workers, their presence was patchy at best – and with one exception (Holan Robat for Abdullah in Shinkay districts) it seems no other candidate had an agent observer anywhere outside the provincial centre.

Provincial head of Dr Abdullah’s campaign Haji Azizullah said their candidate agents did not go to many polling centres in the districts because of the insecurity, and that some of them had not shown up at all on election day. He added that in some polling centres in Qalat, their agents had been ejected by “Ghani candidate agents”, including in Sheikh Mati, Bibi Khala, Sinak and Rasala schools. The local journalist quoted above and Haji Mir Wais, the provincial head of FEFA, who said they had observers in all 36 polling centres, however said they had no information about such incidents. The other observer organisations, Election and Transparency Watch Organization(ETWA) and TEFA did not return AAN phone calls and could thus not be asked about Azizullah’s allegations and their own presence in the province on election day and during its aftermath. The journalist told AAN thatin some polling sites police threatened journalists and that in Bibi Khala and Sur Ghar school of Qalat, he said, he was not allowed in, although he had an observer card.

AAN observed a strong, and somewhat surprising, unanimity among IEC staff and observersin the polling sites visited in Qalat city in saying they were satisfied with the process. This included candidate agents wearing badges of the Abdullah campaign, despite the fact that already during the day local IEC staff seemed to be inflating the turnout figures and were claiming that the votes were overwhelmingly going to the incumbent. An explanation for this could be the allegation of Abdullah’s campaign manager that they were not genuine Abdullah supporters and had been won over, or bought,by the Ghani campaign. The civil society activist told AAN he also had heard about such cases and thought it possible.

Conclusion

There are grave discrepancies in Zabul between what was observed on the ground and what the IEC figures suggest, both in terms of the official IEC turnout figure for the whole province and the information gathered from the vote tallies for various polling centres and districts. In all locations in the city, AAN witnessed extremely few voters. These observations are matched by those of voters and other observers, and by reports from those living in several of Zabul’s districts. Fighting in most of Zabul’s districts, in some places raging throughout almost the whole day, as well as firing in Qalat’s suburbs and the Taleban missile in the morning, can be expected to have restricted voter turnout – which was also observed to have been the case. Yet, reported turnout in Zabul was high, even more so than during the 2018 parliamentary election.

Such an implausibly high turnout – particularly in rural, remote and insecure areas where there is a lack of independent observation– sparks obvious suspicions that fraud has at the very least been attempted. It is also possible that provincial authorities and local IEC staff felt obliged to push turnout figures up and may have overdone it. Scrutiny of the tally details as they come out –including the comparisons between the data recorded by the BVV devices, the physical results sheets, the number of ballots in the boxes and the reported turnout figures – will provide greater clarity as to what may have happened on and after election day.

Zabul has a relatively small population and a relatively limited number of registered voters, so the province is unlikely to significantly influence or sway the final results – unless they are very close, which may be the case. However, the relatively small size of the province might make it easier to get an overview of what might have happened. And if there has been fraud attempted here, it may well point to a trend in other provinces, as well, and could thus be very significant.

Edited by Thomas Ruttig, Kate Clark and Martine van Bijlert

 

* Aref Zabuli is the pseudonym of an Afghan journalist who observed the election in Qalat, Zabul.

 

(1) Kakar district’s original name was Khakeran which was pronounced by some as Khak-e Iran (Iranian soil). Therefore it was renamed Khak-e Afghan (Afghan soil), and now is usually referred to as Kakar, the major tribe living there (see this official district list: no 174).

(2) The figure of 66,489 voters is given as “registered for the [October 2018] parliamentary election.” However, scrutiny of the unconsolidated and contradictory data given on various pages of the IEC’s website indicate that the number in 2018 was actually around 60,000 and some 6,000 voters must have been added in the top-up registration exercise before this election.

Regarding the polling centres, there are also varying figures. Another page of the IEC website lists only 43 polling centres.

(3) On 19 September 2019, the provincial hospital in Qalat was destroyed by a Taleban car bomb which, the insurgents say, was aimed at targeting an intelligence training centre nearby. The bomb killed 39 people and wounded 90 others (see here). After the attack, the hospital was transferred to the provincial directorate of health, where it had originally been before the new provincial hospital was constructed eight years ago.

 

Annex. Overview of the observer information organised per polling centre

Sheikh Mati High School (2601006)

Late morning: In Sheikh Mati High School, AAN saw 18 men, some of them observers, who had just cast their votes, and three or four people voting.

Later: A citizen (name withheld) who cast his vote in the Sheikh Mati High School had not seen any other voters or observers, only IEC staff.  Some of the staff who were his schoolmates told him “no one” was casting their votes. Yet, he said, the written record indicated that 470 people had already voted.

The IEC staff later told AAN that Sheikh Mati High School had recorded 784 male voters, but denied AAN to have a look at the logbook.

End of the day (reported by IEC staff, not seen): Sheikh Mati High School 2,426 votes (of 3,679 voters registered, ie 65.9%)

The voter who had told AAN about his observations at Sheikh Mati High School called his friends among the IEC staff in the evening, after he heard the reported high turnout figure and asked how it had happened. “They did not know either,” he told AAN.

In the Sheikh Mati High School polling centre, the author saw no result sheets displayed outside after the counting, and also not the next morning when he checked again.

[Azizullah, Abdullah’s campaign manager]added that in some polling centres in Qalat, their agents had been ejected by “Ghani candidate agents”, including in Sheikh Mati school.

Tarnak school (listed as ‘Kandak school’ by the IEC; 2601007)

Late morning: In Tarnak school, the author saw six voters and some observers.

Later: Another voter (name withheld) who went to cast his voteat TarnakHigh School at 11:34 am, said the log said only 29 people had voted. He did not see any other voter while he was there.

The IEC staff later told AAN that Tarnak High School had recorded 344 male voters, but denied AAN to have a look at the logbook.

End of the day (reported by IEC staff, not seen): Tarnak High School 1,866 votes (3,189 = 58.5%).

A civil society activist from Qalat told AAN that he asked the IEC staff at Tarnak school in the evening how the high number of voters materialised. He said they replied, “We did this; we work for Ghani.“ He also said there were no observers present at the counting there.

In the Tarnak High School polling centre, the author saw no result sheets displayed outside after the counting, and also not the next morning when he checked again.

Bibi Khala High School (2601005)

Late morning: In Bibi Khala High School, a group of 13 women who wanted to vote, including the provincial director of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Maryam Suleimankhel, were in the middle of an argument with IEC staff. Seven of the women were refusing to be photographed and were sent away without being allowed to cast their ballots.

The IEC staff later told AAN that Bibi Khala High School had recorded 466 female voters, but denied AAN to have a look at the logbook.

End of the day (reported by IEC staff, not seen): Bibi Khala High School 1,285 votes reported (of 4,090 = 31.4%)

In the Bibi Khala High School polling centre, the author saw no result sheets displayed outside after the counting, and also not the next morning when he checked again.

[Abdullah’s campaign manager Azizullah] added that in some polling centres in Qalat, their agents had been ejected by “Ghani candidate agents”, including in Bibi Khala High School.

The journalist told AAN that …in Bibi Khala and Sur Ghar school of Qalat he was not allowed in, although he had an observer card.

Jaru La School polling centre (2601011)

In Jaru La School polling centre (with seven male and one female poling stations, ten kilometres north of Qalat city), at around 2:30 pm AAN saw only two people who had just cast their votes and were about to leave.

By 2:45 pm, 78 people had been recorded as voting in the seven male stations, as AAN saw; AAN was not allowed to check the female station.

Rasala Girls School polling centre (2601008)

Around 4:15 pm, at the Rasala Girls School polling centre, there were just six voters waiting in line. IEC staff claimed that 344 people had voted so far.

At the end of the day (105 minutes later), the IEC said they had recorded 1,334 voters (which represents around half – 48.4 per cent – of all 2,755 voters that registered at that centre).

[Abdullah’s campaign manager Azizilluh]added that in some polling centres in Qalat, their agents had been ejected by “Ghani candidate agents”, including in Rasala Girls School.

Sinak Girls School polling centre (2601009)

In the Sinak Girls School polling centre, at around 4:45 pm, IEC staff and ECC, FEFA, TEFA, Ghani, Abdullah and Hekmatyar observers were present but no voters. The IEC staff in this centre told AAN it had logged 987 people as having voted but did not show the records. The female poling station was already closed by that point due to the lack of voters.

End of the day (reported by IEC staff, not seen): Sinak Girls School 858 votes reported (of 1,939 = 44.2%) – which is less than had earlier been claimed

[Abdullah’s campaign manager Azizullah]added that in some polling centres in Qalat, their agents had been ejected by “Ghani candidate agents”, including in Sinak Girls School.

 

 

 

 

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Thematic Category: Political Landscape