US urges Afghan election workers to prepare for September poll


KABUL -- Election officials in Afghanistan should do more to ensure that delayed presidential polls can take place in September, the US embassy in Kabul said Thursday (May 16).

The election was initially slated for April 20, but as the date drew close, it grew obvious that poll officials were overwhelmed, still tallying results from a nationwide parliamentary ballot in October.

Officials first delayed the presidential election until July 20 and then again to September 28. They announced final results from the parliamentary voting only this week.

The US embassy, in a statement, urged Afghan authorities to "take the decisions and actions necessary to give the Afghan people their voice at the ballot box this year".

"The Afghan people deserve the opportunity to choose their next leadership through transparent elections in September," the statement read.

President Ashraf Ghani, whose term technically expires May 22, may remain in power till the next election, the Supreme Court has said.

The delayed elections come as the United States tries to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban. Negotiations appear to be moving slowly, with the two sides at loggerheads over several key issues.

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