Exhaustive planning by Afghan forces key to 'historic win' on election day

By Sulaiman


An Afghan security force personnel checks a man outside a polling station in Jalalabad on September 28, 2019. Taliban militants worked to disrupt Afghanistan's presidential election, but they were unable to carry out any major attacks on the democratic process. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

KABUL -- Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) had the necessary preparations in place to ensure the Taliban were unable to disrupt the presidential election, say officials.

Authorities heralded the September 28 election as a success because the Taliban were unable to pull off a large-scale attack.

Preliminary results of the election are due October 19. If no candidate wins a majority, voting will go to a second round.

The government ramped up security ahead of the polls, with more than 100,000 security personnel assigned to provide security to voting centres, voters and the overall election.


A voter inks his finger at Habiba High School, a polling centre in Kabul, on election day, September 28. [Sulaiman]

The election saw only a series of small-scale Taliban attacks on polling stations and telecommunication towers in some parts of the country.

"The Taliban used all their strength to disrupt the election and prevent it from happening, but the ANDSF had necessary plans and measures in place to secure the presidential election, which thwarted all the efforts the [Taliban] had taken," said Nasrat Rahimi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior.

"The Taliban planned to attack the voting sites, but the security forces foiled their plans," he said. "During operations conducted by the ANDSF a few days before the election and on election day, hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed."

"We promised people and reassured them that they would be secure during election day, and we delivered on our promise and didn't allow the enemy to disrupt the election and target the voters," he said.

The Taliban's threats were empty and the militants were not able to commit any violence on election day, said Aminullah Shariq, a political affairs analyst in Kabul.

"The Taliban's threats during the election didn't do anything," he said. "The Taliban failed to challenge the preparations of our security and defence forces and couldn't disrupt the election security or stop the election."

The success of the election was "a strong punch in the Taliban's face," Shariq said. "The Taliban need to know that they can never stop democracy and elections with their threats."

Adequate security plans

"The Taliban had plans to create challenges for the election... but the effective security plans put in place by the security authorities and their excellent management of the situation foiled the Taliban's destructive plans on election day," said Gen. (ret.) Abdul Wahab Wardak, a military affairs analyst in Kabul.

"The ANDSF struck the Taliban the hardest a few days before the election and on election day, so that their fighters didn't have the ability to leave their safe havens and disrupt security," he said.

"Even though the Taliban said that they'd stop the election, the security forces were able to secure the election better than what they had promised the people," said Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, a spokesperson for Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission.

"We, as the implementer of this national process, thank the security forces," said Ibrahimi.

"The successful convening of the election was a historic win for the Afghan people as the enemies [Taliban] weren't able to disrupt the election despite their many threats," he said.

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