The precarious security situation in Afghanistan poses the main risk to the historic presidential vote set for next April and could make holding the election “difficult” if it gets worse, the new chairman of the country’s election commission said. While U.S. and Afghan military commanders paint an optimistic picture of their achievements against the Taliban, Independent Election Commission chief Yusuf Nuristani said that insurgent violence remains his key preoccupation amid preparations for the vote. “The main challenge for everyone is the security issue,” Mr. Nuristani, who served as deputy defense minister and governor of Herat province under President Hamid Karzai, said in his first interview with the international press since assuming the job this month. “If the security issue deteriorates, it will be difficult to hold elections.”
So far, Mr. Nuristani added, he can’t say that the security environment in the country has improved compared with the situation during the previous presidential election in 2009—before President Barack Obama’s troop surge.
At the time, large areas of the country, especially in the ethnic Pashtun south and east, were inaccessible to voters and election officials, resulting in widespread ballot-stuffing and fraud.
An election that is seen as legitimate is crucial for Afghanistan’s future as U.S.-led coalition forces go home at the end of 2014 and the country faces the first transition from one elected leader to another in its history.
Full Article: Afghan Election Chairman Warns About Security – WSJ.com.