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MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Independent Election Commission (IEC) officials in northern Balkh say 33 out of total 315 polling sites in the province would be shut on the Election Day.
IEC head for Balkh Mohammad Ayub Bayani told Pajhwok Afghan News that polling centers in Chamtal, Charbolak, Dawlatabad, Shurtipa and Shulgara districts would stay closed.
He said half of the polling sites had been previously under security threats but Afghan forces had now ensured security for around 282 polling sites.
“A total of 315 polling sites are designated in Balkh province, local security officials in a recent security meeting assured us that there would be no threats to 282 polling sites on the Election Day and only 33 sites will probably remain shut,” he said.
Bayani said sensitive electoral materials had reached the province and they would deliver them to districts based on the schedule.
He assured that the September 28 presidential election would be transparent and asked people to make the process a success by their wide participation.
However, some people fear more polling sites would be shut in Balkh province on the Election Day due to increasing insecurity.
Haji Abdul Shakoor, a tribal elder from Charbolak district, said that 20 polling sites in their district alone would stay closed if the situation did not improve.
“Currently all villages of the district are under Taliban control and Afghan forces control areas related to the center of the district,” he said.
Afghan security forces could not keep security for the election or pave the ground for people to exercise their right to enfranchise in a safe environment in the next two weeks, he said.
“The war has been ongoing for a year in Charbolak district, the Taliban now also influence Mazar-Shiberghan highway, they search people on the route, going to polling stations in such a situation is impossible,” he said.
Shakoor said the Taliban had also warned people not to participate in any election process.
Meanwhile, Balkh security officials assured that they were committed to ensuring security for election.
Adil Shah Adil, Balkh police spokesman, said that Afghan forces were currently clearing areas where polling stations were under threat.
He said that security in areas many areas which were under Taliban threat would be ensured until the Election Day.


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