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Cablegate: Afghan Elections Situation Report Seven - 1800 Local,

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBUL #2450/01 2321334
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201334Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0962
INFO RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7802
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3807
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KABUL 002450

DEPT FOR AFGHAN ELECTIONS TASK FORCE

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM AF

SUBJECT: Afghan Elections Situation Report Seven - 1800 Local,
August 20, 2009

1. (SBU) The next sitrep is scheduled for 2000 local on August 20.


------------
Atmospherics
------------

2. (U) The IEC confirmed that the polling stations should remain
open to 5pm local time throughout Afghanistan. The IEC wanted those
affected by security issues to have an extra hour to vote. The IEC
further told us that Baghlan will extend until 6pm due to voter
delays and security issues in that province.

3. (U) So far there have been sporadic incidents of violence in
various parts of the country-about 4 times as many incidents in the
south, and 3 times as many in east-however, most reports conclude
that these events have not had a real effect on the elections. The
situation in Baghlan has been one of the worst. In 2004 that
province voted in somewhat equal numbers for the top two
candidates.

-------------
Voter Turnout
-------------

4. (U) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC South:
(SBU) Kandahar reports that election observers from Democracy
International, who visited a number of polling places in Kandahar
City, characterized voter turnout as "low," but did not offer an
estimate of the percentage of potential voters who voted. ISAF, on
the other hand, reports that polling centers in Kandahar and Helmand
have "had good traffic."

(U) Uruzgan reports that preliminary data suggests voter turnout for
Charchine and Khas Uruzgan is around 5 to 10%. No data is in for
Tarin Kowt as of yet but UN sources say that female turnout was
particularly low in Chinartu, Charchine and Khas Uruzgan districts -
clearly depressing aggregate voter turnout numbers. The success
story thus far is the turnout in Deh Rahwod, reported to be roughly
25%.
(U) Lashkar Gah reports that turnout varies widely, with a good
turnout reported in Garmsir but intimidation tactics having more
effect in other districts. Turnout was reported to be very low in
Musa Qala, Nawa, Sangin, and Nad Ali.

RC East:
(U) Khost reports that voter turnout in Khost City and in the
districts of Tani, Matun, Mandozai, and Jaji Maidan continues to be
robust. Female turnout appears to be running as high as 30-40
percent in some districts, while virtually non-existent in others.

(U) Ghazni reports that men and women in mostly-Hazara communities,
including Qalay Shada and Naw Abad northwest of Ghazni City, are
voting in large numbers, encouraged by the security in their
communities. Meanwhile, voter participation in the center of Ghazni
City is comparatively low. People reportedly are having difficulty
or cannot vote in the districts of Andar, Rashidan and Khogyani and
in Jaghato district where eight polling centers did not open due to
lack of materials.

RC North:
(U) Kunduz reports that turnout is relatively low, even though the
security situation had calmed down following rocket attacks in the
morning. As of the early afternoon, most polling stations had
averaged about 300 voters each. There were no lines to be seen at
any of the stations; in quite a few stations there seemed to be more
candidates' and parties' observers than voters. The streets in much
of the city were nearly empty and most shops closed, in contrast to
election day in 2004.

(U) PRT Gardez in Paktya cites reports that local residents say that
women are voting for themselves and not voting via their husbands or
male relatives.
RC West:
(U) Chaghcharan reports that as of mid-afternoon the pace of voting
had slowed considerably, with voter lines much shorter than in the
morning. Logistics appeared to work well as voters, candidate
representatives, and other observers noted few problems in the
provincial capital. However, many women appear uninformed about the
candidates and voting procedures.
---------
Security
---------


5. (U) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC East:
Khost is seeking to confirm that the sole polling center in Musa
Khel District closed due to intimidation; two centers in Matun also
are reported to be closing early in response to intimidation.
PRT Gardez in Paktya reported at 1545 that Deputy Governor Mangal
and ANP Chief, General Wardak, told the PRT that the overall
situation had improved and there were fewer reports of AAF activity
following a number of security incidents around the province in the
morning. Both said that the reports of election related violence
were "overblown." Contradicting reports PRT Gardez has received
from the DFC in Chamkani, the Deputy Governor stated that only one
person was killed in a morning attack in that district. Initial
reports indicate that a potential suicide bomber in Gardez City
self-detonated after being chased while driving a motorcycle. There
were no other casualties. The attacker's brother, from Zormat
district and a member of the ASG, has been taken into custody for
questioning.
Ghazni reports sporadic fighting in the districts of Rashidan, Kwaja
Omary, Andar and Giro. In Kwaja Omary, voting was heavy in the
morning, but has slowed to a trickle. Insurgents reportedly
attacked a polling center in Laghawat, Deh Yak district, and tried
to steal the ballot boxes. The ANP are responding. District
Subgovernors of Qarabagh and Andar districts say their districts are
now quiet and that turnout has been relatively high. The Waghez
District Subgovernor said that there were some rocket attacks near
the District Center earlier in the day, but they were not serious.
The District Subgovernor was pleased with the situation so far,
claiming that 7,000 people had already voted.
RC Central: Chaghcharan reports that IEC closed one polling center
in Taywara district after insurgents fired a rocket at it at 1130.
No casualties were reported, but small arms fire followed. PRT is
trying to confirm if two polling centers in Dolatyar district are
closed due to interference from PC candidates.
RC South:
Kandahar reports that so far there have been three security
incidents in the province believed to be election-related: an attack
on Khisarabad school/polling station in Nawa Barakzayhi (casualties
unknown); a suicide attack at a girl's school/polling place in
Kandahar City (3 reported dead); and rocket attacks on Maywand and
Arghandab District Centers (no reported casualties).
Uruzgan reports that Tarin Kowt is quiet at the moment, following
earlier scattered indirect fire attacks. The situation in Hussinea
remains fluid, with scattered reports of attacks on the polling
station. ISAF air support is en route to survey the situation. We
have no reports of security issues/incidents elsewhere in the
province at this time.
RC North:
Kunduz reports the situation at 1530 to be considerably calmer
following rocket attacks this morning. PRT Officer visited four
polling centers, including one where two rockets struck this morning
at about 8 am, causing one injury. The voting process itself seems
to be proceeding relatively smoothly, security procedures were
generally good, and we did not observe obvious fraud or
intimidation.
RC West:
Qala-e-Now reports that voting proceeded without incident at the
four voting centers the PRT visited in the Qal-e-Now vicinity. The
mood was calm, and there appeared to be no major procedural or
security issues. The NDS reported a shooting incident in the Moqur
district in which one civilian was wounded. It was not clear
whether the incident was related to voting.
----------------------------
Voting & Counting Activities
----------------------------
6. (U) Provincial reports by region follow:
RC South:
(U) Lashkar Gah reports that overall the voting process appears to
be working fairly well, and most irregularities seem to result more
from lack of training/incompetence than malice. There are reports,
however, that former Helmand Governor Sher Muhammad Akhunzada's
people are stuffing ballot boxes for Karzai, and a PRT observer
witnessed probable ballot stuffing at one polling site; it's unclear
whether or not this is widespread. Some IEC staff in Nad Ali are
wearing "Hamid Karzai" caps and badges. There were independent
observers - including FEFA - at all six of the polling centers we
visited in Lashkar Gah, though their level of effort and
effectiveness can be regarded as uneven.

RC East:
Khost reports that polling centers in Jaji Maidan report they have
run out of ballots; according to the Khost PEO, IEC HQ in Kabul said
it would fly out more materials, but as of 1500, polling centers in

Jaji were beginning to close, even though some voters had not had a
chance to cast their ballots. Some polling centers in Tani ran out
of materials, but supplies were shifted from centers with lower
turnout and voting resumed.
-----
Fraud
-----
7. (U) Provincial reports by region follow:
RC South:
(SBU) The UK battle group in the Babaji area northwest of Lashkar
Gah reported that the local ANP have detained and plan to arrest IEC
workers for stuffing ballots. Apparently about 35 people went to
vote but the IEC workers carried out "hundreds and hundres" of
completed ballots. The ANP has coordinated th decision to arrest
with the Afghan Security Forces' Operational Coordination Center
Provincince (OCCP).
(SBU) Some preliminary local reports in Lashkar Gah also note that
Sher Muhammad Akhunzada had "his people hired" at the IEC as poll
workers. OCCP and local authorities are investigating.

RC East:
(U) Khost reported that at one polling center in Matun, an Afghan
PRT employee observed a provincial council candidate and
presidential candidate representatives engaging in illegal campaign
activities. At the same site, voters were witnessed completing and
casting multiple ballots, which the polling staff failed to
prevent.

RC Capital:
(U) Chaghcharan reports that IEC officials were seen to be not
following procedures regarding picture-less voter id cards for
women. Also, two polling sites outside of town claimed to run out
of presidential ballots early in the morning. Plenty of ballots had
been delivered, leading UNDP officials to speculate that local
officials were giving voters two presidential ballots.

--------------
Public Affairs
--------------

8. (U) PUBLIC AFFAIRS UPDATES:
President Karzai held a press conference at 4pm, noting that free
and fair elections took place today in Afghanistan.

Shamshad TV reported that Ambassador Eikenberry visited a number of
polling centers in Kabul city. During the visit, Ambassador
Eikenberry is reported to have stated that people were voting freely
in the elections and that elections were being held in a transparent
manner.

AFGHAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
-Rockets fired on Kashkar Gah City killing 1 child, injuring several
others.
-Tolo TV reporter in Lashkar Gah, the capital of southern Helmand
province, said six rockets were fired on the city Thursday morning
and that one hit a residential house killing a child and injuring
others. According to the report, rockets were also reportedly fired
on Sangin and Garem Sir districts of Helmand province late Wednesday
night.
-Tolo TV reporter in Alingar district of eastern Laghman province
said he had seen boys under the voting age (18) at the polling
stations-she said they were holding voting cards. The reporter also
says an armed clash had erupted between police and militants in Ali
Shing district of the province.
-Tolo TV in an interview with Gen. Zahir Azimi, spokesman of the
Afghan Ministry of Defense, said police shot dead three would-be
suicide bombers near polling stations in southeastern Pakia
provinces. Gen Azimi also said two other men trying to locate
explosives near a polling station in Gardez the capital of the
province were arrested.
-Ariana TV reported that higher number of women than men voted in
Zabul province. The reports said that a big number of men did not
vote because they believed that their vote will not make any
difference. Shamshad TV reported that unlike the expectations, a
great number of women voted in Helmand provinces.

Other Top Stories:
-The director of local affiliate of RTA in Jalalabad said he
complied with prohibition of election-related violence in Nangarhar
province. Thus he did not report that an explosion killed the
Khagvani Deputy police chief and an explosion near Jalalabad polling
station.
-"The Voice of Paktika," the provinces major radio station reported
a strong turn out and a secure environment.
-A caller complained to Kabul-based "Salaam Watandar" that there

were not enough polling sites outside the Mata Khan district center
and that he walk to the nearest site took two hours each way.
Messaging remains consistent with Afghan Elections Situation from
the previous report. We will review and update as necessary for the
next report.

EIKENBERRY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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