Protesters demanding anti-fraud measures shut down the offices of Afghanistan’s election commission in three of the country’s major provinces on Saturday, just weeks before a vote for Parliament, The protest is the latest symptom of a political logjam that could turn violent amid a raging war with the Taliban. The last-minute jockeying over an election already delayed by three years suggests that after five elections over 17 years, costing about $1bn, Afghanistan lacks a basic consensus on how an election should be held and a credible body to oversee it.
The offices were shut in Balkh province in the north, Kandahar in the south, and Herat in the west, according to Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, a spokesman for the election commission.
In all three provinces, protesters locked the gates of the commission’s offices and pitched tents outside to hold sit-ins.
General Akhtar Ibrahimi, the deputy minister of interior, said the government had instructed security forces to protect the election offices and “to use force if necessary.”