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The High Stake for the Runoff Election

Balkh gets 150 more polling sites
Officials at the Defense Ministry announced say the level of security threats for the second round of elections will be higher than the first round of the elections as the militant groups are determined to disrupt the runoff elections due to be held on 14 June. On Monday, Ministry of Defense spokesman Zahir Azimi said that there are intelligence that the militants are planning to intensify their attacks on the eve of the upcoming presidential election. However, he assured that the Afghan security forces are prepared to roll out an extensive security operation for securing the election and foil any attempt by the Taliban to disrupt the election. Azimi maintained that due to the praises that the security forces received for the successful handling of security of the first round of the election, they have also high morale as well as the required capacity and capability for securing the process.
With the runoff election looming, the security threats for the election is emerging more seriously than the first round of the elections. The Ministry of Defense assessment of the situation is coming only few days after a suicide bomb attack targeted leading presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul, killing at least six people and wounding many more. The attack has sparked further concerns and pinned attentions to the high security threats from the militant groups for the second round of the elections. Afghan high-ranking security and electoral officials have been trying to boost security of the election candidates after the Friday suicide attack on Abdullah’s convoy. Afghan security officials stressed on the need for further cooperation between the candidates and security agencies to take the necessary arrangements for security of the candidates while running their campaign programs.
As the security officials’ assessment indicate, the second round of the elections will be subject to higher security threats and the militant groups are determined to do whatever they can to disrupt the second round of the elections. Taliban’s failure to disrupt the first round of the elections was the heaviest blow the militant groups in recent years. The Taliban commanders who failed to disrupt the first round of the elections are being punished in remote areas of the country. Because the Afghan security forces did a good job in securing the first round of the elections, despite the Taliban’s efforts to disrupt it, it came as a humiliation and failure for the Taliban to derail a process that they had already vowed to harm it.
Afghan security forces need to be particularly vigilant for the second round of the election given the Taliban’s increased activities to derail the process. Taliban’s intensified campaign of violence needs to be dealt efficiently and the security agencies should redouble their efforts to safeguard the most crucial election and the democratic power transfer as the militants will most likely attempt to intensify their attacks for derailing the upcoming presidential elections. A deterioration of security across the country could result to closing of polling stations in many parts of the insecure areas of the South and East of the country which could potentially damage the legitimacy of the elections and the country’s political stability.

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