7,000 Kuchis fail to vote in Faryab

MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Around 7,000 Kuchi tribesmen could not exercise their right to enfranchise in April 5 presidential and provincial council elections in northern Faryab province due to insecurity.  
Thousands of Kuchi families live in Faryab, but security threats kept 7,000 eligible Kuchi voters away from casting their vote, said Ghulam Ghaus, a representative of the tribe in Daulat Abad district.
He said Kuchi families lived in Ghormach, Daulat Abad, Almar, Qaisar, Pashtun Kot, Qaram Qul and Shireen Tagab districts.
Two days before the polls, security forces had conducted a cleanup operation in Fatah Baba and Shor Darya areas of Daulat Abad district, but the operation did not help secure polling centres, he said.
“It has been two years I could not return home in Daulat Abad due to Taliban's threats," he said, accusing the rebels of having killed elders of the Kuchi tribe.
Angar Tokhi, a provincial council member, complained many polling centres in their area remained closed on the election day due threats posed by the insurgents.
Also in the run for a seat on the provincial council, Tokhi said he had many supporters in areas inhabited by the Kuchi tribe, but they could not vote in the face of a worsening security situation.
Masoom Masoomi, Faryab Independent Election Commission (IEC) head, said not only nomads, but other residents of Qaisar, Almar and Pashtoon Kot districts had been unable to participate in the elections.
Fifteen of 34 voting sites in Qaisar district had been shut on the Election Day, he said, adding local authorities should have addressed their reservations.
Governor Muhammadullah Batash, regretting the issue, said security forces had been unable to keep all polling centres open. Of 234 polling centres, 47 sites could not be open due to bad weather and security problems, he added.

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