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Cablegate: Afghan Elections Situation Report Ten - 04:00am Local,

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R 202251Z AUG 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0980
INFO RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7817
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UNCLAS KABUL 002454

DEPT FOR AFGHAN ELECTIONS TASK FORCE

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

SUBJECT: Afghan Elections Situation Report Ten - 04:00AM Local,
August 21, 2009

1. (SBU) The next sitrep is scheduled for 08:00AM local on August
21.

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

2. (SBU) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC-South:

-- Helmand reports that voting went well in Lashkar Gah. There were
some problems with voters being turned away from polling stations
that declined to remain open the extra hour, but in general the vast
majority of those who wanted to vote in Lashkar Gah were able to.
In the more remote districts the feeling was not as positive, as
intimidation efforts, combined with voter ambivalence, combined to
depress turnout.

RC-West:

-- In Farah, overall voting was very successful considering the
serious attempt by the Taliban to disrupt the voting. Although
voting was disrupted in two districts, the majority of voters were
able to exercise their rights.

-- Chaghcharan reported that voting started off strong in the
morning and slowed down as the day progressed.

-- Badghis reported that a relaxed mood at polling centers and no
serious incidents were reported. At some centers, the turnout of
women appeared to be almost equal to that of the men.

-- Herat reported that young people constituted the majority of
FEFA's domestic observers, and to a lesser extent, for the few
political parties fielding observers. The high number of youth
involved in this election appears to be promising for the future.
Many UN local staff who were apathetic and not planning to vote
changed their minds and decided to do so after seeing the large
numbers voting in Herat City and the long lines of their fellow
citizens. Almost all the domestic observers encountered had
received the four-hour NDI observer course in Herat, and many still
carried their NDI handbook or had pulled the check sheets out of the
NDI handbook. Observers agreed that there were no incidents of
irregularity or fraud.

There were three common complaints at Herat polling centers. First,
almost all the poll workers stopped trying to use the hole punchers,
which did not work, and started cutting corners off the voter
registration cards with scissors instead. Second, voters and
domestic candidate observers often commented on the overcrowding and
long lines. Third, some observers and poll workers commented that
older, illiterate voters did not know how to vote or who to vote
for, and in spite of the excellent IEC voting posters designed to be
understandable by illiterates, still had problems with the process.


RC-North:

-- In Balkh, Abdullah campaign advisor Yunusi alleged that some IEC
workers were partial to Karzai. He said that Farhad Afghanzoi, one
of Karzai's campaign officials in Balkh, campaigned inside voting
centers in Mazar city in the company of two armed guards. When an
Abdullah observer confronted Afghanzoi, Afghanzoi reportedly
threatened him. The Abdullah campaign has filed a complaint against
Afghanzoi.

Yunusi also said that one Abdullah observer had accused a female IEC
worker of campaigning for Karzai inside a voting center. Another
Abdullah observer told Yunusi that an IEC worker had been seen
making marks on ballots cast for Abdullah so that they would be
invalidated during the vote count.

-- In Sheberghan, Jowzjan, General Dostum voted at a high school
before spending the rest of the day at his guesthouse.

RC-East:

-- Elections were calm throughout Panjshir province. No significant
security incidents were reported. PRT Director and USAID
representative observed polling at three stations in the lower
district of Shutul during morning hours. IEC officials at all three
locations followed correct procedures in the presence of PRT
observers. Two FEFA representatives were present at each station
and, on average, a dozen representatives of PC candidates. Voting

was slow, with minimal crowds and no lines. At some stations, IEC
workers are clipping voter registration cards with scissors because
of broken hold-punchers. EU and U.S.-funded DI observers have so
far visited more than 10 other polling stations in Panjshir and are
reporting along similar lines.

-- Paktia reported that some polling centers remained open until
5:00PM, and many districts are reporting that ballots are moving to
district centers for counting. Several districts reported that
residents appear pleased with the process and that both men and
women showed up to vote.

-- In Parwan, DI's international observer described the atmosphere
in the morning in the centers he visited as "almost festive," with
people relaxed and enjoying the process. The consensus among
everyone we spoke with about the process in Parwan was that it went
very well.

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

3. (SBU) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC South:

-- Lashkar Gah, Helmand reported that Taliban intimidation ahead of
Election Day clearly had more effect in the districts than in
Lashkar Gah, but palpable voter apathy was probably the larger
driver of what seems a relatively low overall turnout, especially in
the districts. An estimated 250 people voted in Khanashin today,
which is pretty good number for that area.
-- Kandahar reported that some polling stations in Kandahar City
(KC) were still open as late as 1815 to accommodate voters who had
been in line prior to the IEC-extended closing time of 1700. UNAMA
characterized voter turnout as low, citing as likely causes the
insurgents' pre-election intimidation campaign and today's ongoing
rocket attacks, particularly in KC.
-- In Farah, voter turnout exceeded expectations, but was lower than
in the previous election. The districts of Pusht Rud and Bala
Baluk had very weak turnout with no voter sites open except for a
handful. Farah City had an unexpected slow down after the morning
but the voters returned before the closing of the polls to bring the
numbers to a medium turnout. The other eight districts had very
high voter turnout exceeding local official's expectations. Most
sites extended their closing hours from 1600 to 1700 in order to
accommodate the voters standing in line. Also the afternoon saw
many more men than women voters in all the districts.
-- A UN contact described voter turnout in Uruzgan as both "paltry"
and "pretty weak." In Charchine district, the UN assessed turnout
to be around 2 or 3 percent, with not one vote cast by a female. On
a positive note, Tarin Kowt and Deh Rahwod, two of the most
populated districts, reportedly had the highest percentage turnout.
Initial turnout appeared good but the indirect rocket attacks around
the province likely killed any momentum that had been building
throughout the morning.
RC East:

-- Paktika reported heavy voting in Sharana and Mata Khan, with
steady voting in Gayan, Sarobi, Orgun and long lines in Bermel. In
all, solid voter turnout was observed in Paktika, notwithstanding
the threat level.

-- In Nangarhar, preliminary reports from UNAMA, election observers
and community leaders suggest low voter turnout - perhaps half that
of the last election - in Jalalabad, due to security concerns and
low voter enthusiasm. However, police chiefs, tribal elders, and
the IEC are reporting strong voter turnout elsewhere due primarily
to effective pressure from tribal leaders to vote.

-- In Parwan, DI's observer reported heavy turnout in the morning.
Indications are that as the initial wave of enthusiastic voters left
the polls, turnout also lightened as the day wore on. UNAMA told us
that the volume of women voters in Parwan was high.

-- Bagram reported that at 1100 in 29 of the 31 districts in Kapisa,
Parwan, Bamyan and Panjshir, people were standing in line to vote.

-- Ghazni's Provincial Election Officer (PEO) Rahimi reported that
50% of eligible voters voted, and that only two polling centers were
closed: Kakrak and Shawki in Jaghato district. However, observers
stated that significantly more - at least 24 polling centers and
possibly even more - were not opened.

-- In Khost, district administrators from several districts reported

high voter turnout: Nader Shah Kot claimed 60%; Spera estimated
roughly 25%; Dwamanda estimated 65%; Mandozai DG believed 80% turned
out; Tani claimed 75%; and Gorbuz believes 60%.
-- Significant numbers of women voted in Shutul and Bazarak
districts, in lower Panjshir. However, Canada's female observer
visited two women's polling stations in upper Paryon district, and
found them staffed only by men. No women turned up at either
station to vote.

RC-North:
-- Kunduz reported that voter turnout was fairly low in Kunduz City.
Based on conversations with district managers of Archi, Aliabad,
and Imam Saheb districts, it appears turnout was low in other areas
as well, particularly in areas with high insurgent infiltration.
-- In Balkh and Jowzjan, voter turnout was lower than expected at
the nine polling centers visited by PRT. At 1500, one polling
station manager at a Sheberghan, Jowzjan polling center told us that
only about half of the 600 ballots allocated to his station had been
cast. One Junbesh Party observer said Dostum's return had resulted
in increased voter turnout from Junbesh supporters, but he could not
quantify that claim. When the State PRT officer visited a voting
center in Khaneqa district, Jowzjan, at 1400, 760 people had voted -
322 of them women.
RC-West:

-- Chaghcharan reported healthy voter turnout. By 1400 lines had
shortened drastically and by 1600 there were none at all. At the PC
visited by PRT reps, turnout was 67% of registered voters.

-- Badghis reported that turnout appeared moderate, and most people
got their voting done early. By 1600, few people remained at the
polls. Only one voter cast a ballot at any of the polling stations
in the troubled district of Bala Murghab during an hour-plus
mid-afternoon observation period, and unlike the city centers of
Qala-e-Naw and Qadis districts on election day, Bala Murghab
appeared empty. The District Field Coordinator for Bala Murghab
told us that only 1-2% of the district population voted.

Last month an IDLG-mandated delegation reportedly reached an
agreement with local Taliban to permit elections. The Taliban did
not keep their promise to keep the roads open for voters. Taliban
cut off all but one access route to central polling centers until
1000 and threatened to cut off any ink-dipped fingers and there was
only one access route to the district center where six polling
centers were located. According to the DFC, IDLG Popal's ceasefire
was only a 50% success because it brought temporary peace, but most
could not vote. He said that a successful ISAF/GIRoA clearing
operation would have been better to guarantee people's right to
vote.

-- Farah reported that although voting was higher than expected it
was low compared to the previous election. There seem to be several
contributing factors. Taliban threats and attacks throughout the
day may have dissuaded some voters from standing in line to vote
exposing themselves to rocket attacks. However in the districts
the mood was much different and many voters came from faraway places
to vote. The most important change in Farah was the unusually high
turnout of female voters. Farah reports that some women have stated
that they want to weaken the Taliban's status by voting despite the
threats. Many women have indicated that they would rather
participate in an election in which they have the right to vote than
return to the days of the Taliban where they could not vote.
Overall the Governor and provincial officials were extremely happy
about the turnout.

-- An observer in Herat noted long lines of women and men waiting to
vote. There were at least 2000 voters waiting in line at 0700; some
women had been waiting since 0430. There was significant oversight
by observers and candidate agents. In one polling center alone, the
PRT rep counted about 100 domestic observers, provincial council
candidate agents, and presidential candidate agents overseeing the
polls.

---------
Security
---------

4. (SBU) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC East:

-- Bagram reported that all Bamyan, Parwan, Panjshir and Kapisa's
495 polling sites were secured by ANSF. There were no unscheduled
polling site closures and just one election center attack in Kapisa
Province. In Kunar, Laghman, Nuristan and Nangahar, 765 of 780

polling sites are secured by ANSF. There were three unscheduled
polling site closures and two election related attacks, with one in
Nuristan, and one in central Nangarhar. In Wardak and Logar, 147 of
162 polling sites were secured by ANSF. There were 15 unscheduled
polling site closures in the higher-threat areas. There were five
election center attacks - three in Wardak and two in Logar. In
Ghazni, 358 of 368 polling sites were secured by ANSF. There were
36 unscheduled polling site closures, and five election center
attacks. In Khost, Paktia and Paktika, 393 of 401 polling sites
were secured by ANSF. There were no unscheduled polling site
closures. There were 14 polling center attacks - five in Paktika,
three in Paktia, and four in Khost.

-- Ghazni reported security challenges, including attacks on a
polling center in a Ghazni City suburb, and on Qarabagh and
Khogyani's district centers. There were 14 incidents of indirect
fire, seven incidents of direct fire, 17 attacks on District
Centers, and four attacks on polling centers - all leading to five
ANSF and two local nationals being injured. There were no riots or
examples of civil unrest during the voting period. Referring to the
incident earlier in the day at the polling center in Naw Abad,
Ghazni District, the governor said that he freed the polling center
from Ghazni MP Ali Akbar Qasimi and "his people" by deploying the
ANA and ANP to the area.

-- Paktia reported significant kinetic activity, with insurgents
firing on locations in Jani Khel, Danda Patan and Lija Mangal
districts, but with no casualties reported. Eastern Paktia reports
good turnout at madrassa and mosque sites despite periodic rockets
hitting near villages, small arms fire, RPG and explosions in the
distance from polling sites.

-- At least nine of 65 significant insurgent attacks since polls
opened in Paktia, Paktika and Khost were serious enough to close
polling sites for one hour or more. Each site reportedly re-opened
after ANSF re-established security. Attacks were most frequent
between 0800 and 1230 in the P2K area. All three provinces are
ready to broadcast interviews with GIRoA officials and positive
election programming on radio stations once polls have closed. Disc
jockeys in Dila (west Paktika) and Sabari (Khost) broadcast messages
encouraging voters to come to polling stations to boost low turnout
following indirect fire attacks during the day. Several radio
stations reported calls from the public thanking the ANSF for
providing good security on election day.

-- Khost reported that the attacks on Naka DC, Zirok COP and FOB
Orgun-E in E Paktika are reportedly under control. ANA and CF are
in contact with insurgents in Bermel district in E Paktika. Two
suicide bombers detonated in Gardez City, Paktya; they were killed
but there were no other casualties. Six IEDs were found in Gardez
City area; ANSF/CF have requested EOD assistance.

-- In Nangarhar, there were no additional security incidents
reported late in the day. Overall, security incidents consisted
primarily of indirect fire attacks on polling stations that did not
affect polling station operations and resulted in few injuries. The
exception was the IED attack in Kyogyani that killed the district
Deputy Police Chief and seriously injured another policeman and
appears to have deterred voters from coming to the polls in that
district. A suspect was arrested in that IED attack, as was a
suicide bomber in Jalalabad before she could carry out her attack.
Jalalabad city was free of violence, with the exception of a small
explosion in the morning near a polling station that resulted in no
casualties. The IEC and ANSF generally worked well together and
were supported by the tribes across the province in providing
security.

-- In the 24 hours preceding the opening of polls, there were 44
incidents in RC-East - approximately three times the norm, but only
13 of which were directly related to the elections. These
occurrences, mostly small arms fire and indirect fire, have had
minimal impact. All were effectively countered by Afghan National
Security Forces, backed up by Coalition reinforcements.

While in the northern Tajik area of Kapisa, no security issues were
reported, intense activity occurred in the northern Tagab and Alisay
valleys. A Chief of Police was wounded by machine gun fire.
However, the attackers were defeated, the location secured, polling
sites were opened and some elders were out encouraging people to
vote. In Tagab, three polling centers were defended/secured by the
ANSF from the inside. There is one unconfirmed report of a voter
being beheaded in this area, after INS saw that his finger was
stained.

RC-South:


-- Lashkar Gah reported that after a morning filled with numerous
attacks across the province, there were no security incidents of
note this afternoon aside from a second IDF attack in Khanashin
around noon. Physical security at polling centers in Lashkar Gah
was a mixed picture, with some stations having plenty of ANP to
search voters and others having not visible security presence.
There were, however, no security incidents at polling stations. IDF
attacks of this morning do not appear to have significantly affected
turnout in Lashkar Gah.

-- Farah reported that ANSF were able to secure the majority of the
polling sites with the exception of two districts, Pusht Rud and
Bala Baluk. The village of Kanesk in the southern part of Bala
Baluk district was the only polling station open in the district and
it suffered a rocket and insurgent small arms attack. However the
polling center did not close and Taliban were repulsed by the ANSF.


Farah observed that the district of Pusht Rud suffered the greatest
fighting with pitched battles throughout the day. Most polling
centers were not able to open due to the heavy presence of the
Taliban. Ten Taliban who had fired rockets into the city were
killed in the district with ANSF suffering three KIA. In Khaki
Safed four ANA were injured when they were removing voter materials
from the village of Gardab when their vehicle struck an IED, but the
materials were not damaged.

RC-North:

-- Kunduz reported that this morning's rocket attacks limited the
activities of international observers. UNAMA, EU, NDI, and ANFREL
all severely reduced their observation activities.

-- In Faryab, the PEO reported that insurgent attacks this morning
in the vicinity of two voting centers in Khowaja Kinti and Khowaja
Asfalan villages in Qaysar district kept those centers from opening
until ANP pushed back the insurgents. IEC staff abandoned the
centers, leaving ballot boxes unattended, according to the OCC-P
deputy commander. The centers reopened briefly before renewed
fighting between ANP and insurgents forced the centers to close
again for the rest of the day. During the short window of time the
centers were open, very few people came to vote.

Fearing insurgent attacks on a voting center in Qasaba Qala village
in Pashtun Kowt, Faryab the IEC ordered that the ballot boxes be
taken to a more secure area for counting (Mingdara village)
immediately after the polls closed at 1400.

-- The Jowzjan PEO reported that insurgents fired rockets near a
voting center in Ounchi Village, Darzab district, at 0930, causing
would-be voters to scatter. The center remained open, but turnout
was depressed. In Sher Big village, Qush Teppeh district,
insurgents fired a rocket near the voting center there, but there
were no reported casualties. A Swedish PRT vehicle struck an IED in
Dardan village, Qush Teppeh district, Jowzjan province, this
afternoon. No injuries were sustained, but the vehicle was
disabled.

-- In Khaneqa district, Jowzjan, a group of elders voluntarily
gathered at a polling center in the district center, in case any
security problems should arise.

-- The PEOs in Sar-e Pul, Balkh and Samangan reported no
security-related problems.

RC-West:

-- Chaghcharan reported that security was tight, with plenty of ANSF
at polling centers and elsewhere in the city. Only one of Ghor's
238 polling centers closed today because of violence (in Taywara
district).

-- Badghis reported that ANP forces were present at all sites
visited, and several roads in Qala-e Now city were closed to
traffic. The IEC District director for Qala-e Now district reported
that there were no security problems at the 19 centers in that
district, and the ceasefire reached last month appeared to continue
in effect.

-- Per the UNAMA Western Region Chief, three polling centers in
Shindand, Herat were burned by Mullahs Nasir, Ghafur, and Sadriddin,
who reportedly were unhappy with the voting. Their men told the
polling staff to leave the premises and then torched the election
materials, including the cast ballots. The alleged centers torched:

Ali Abad Mosque in Ali Abad; Kohak Mosque, Kohak; and Darwajee
Mosque, Darwajee.

The UNAMA Western Region Chief, one PC candidate, and two domestic
PC candidate observers all expressed concerns that the Taliban may
employ tactics over the next few days targeting the convoys
transporting voting results to provincial centers, mining roads near
the voting centers these convoys will have to travel, and attacking
polling sites in Herat province, where polling staff will be
spending the night with ANP security and the PC ballot boxes to
count the next day.

----------------------------
Voting & Counting Activities
----------------------------

5. (SBU) Embassy observers in Kabul noted that, by and large, the
counting process followed the set procedures under intense scrutiny
by FEFA observers, candidate and party agents, and international
observers. While the three step process of reconciliation, sorting,
and counting was cumbersome and somewhat confusing, polling station
workers approached the task seriously and professionally. In
several instances, there were questions about voter intent and
whether the ballot could be counted for a particular candidate.
These disputes were resolved quickly and peacefully. Provincial
reports by region follow:

RC-North:

-- Kunduz reported conflicting information regarding how many of the
polling sites actually opened. Observers in Kunduz were initially
informed by IEC that all but two of the polling sites were open, but
information from the district managers suggests that the number of
sites which did not open today is considerably greater.

-- In Balkh and Jowzjan, at least one Karzai observer was spotted at
every voting station, but the same could not be said for other
candidates. The absence of other observers was glaringly evident
during the vote count PRT officer observed at Khadeeja High School
in Sheberghan, Jowzjan where Karzai had one observer for each of the
seven voting stations, while Abdullah only had one observer to cover
all seven. The IEC vote counters often did not bother to hold the
ballots up for inspection by the observers unless asked to do so.

Karzai blew away the competition at Khadeeja High School Voting
Center, winning nearly 65% of all male ballots cast. One voter even
wrote on his ballot: "Long life to Karzai Baba." Abdullah received
only about one-seventh of the number of votes cast for Karzai.
Bashardost placed third, and Ghani, a distant fourth, winning only
2-3 votes at each of the seven voting stations.

-- Chaghcharan reported that PRT reps witnessed the counting
procedures at one of Chaghcharan's polling centers. Other than
minor procedural details, the count was orderly. There were many
observers from the candidates present along with a handful of
domestic observers from FEFA.

RC-East:

-- Khost reported that several voting stations remained open after
1600 to accommodate voters who remained in line. Participants
described their voting experience positively; people were required
to show their registration cards, materials were on hand and voting
was conducted efficiently. Most people reported it took about five
minutes to complete the process once they had entered the polling
center.

-- Nangarhar reports that polls closed an hour later than planned
and IEC officials reported no major logistical problems throughout
the day. Polling stations have begun counting ballots in the
Presidential election and will begin tabulating Provincial Council
votes tomorrow.

-- In Parwan and Kapisa, DI described polling staff at all locations
visited as professional and competent, barring one center in Kapisa,
where he said the operation seemed to be purposefully disorganized
and ANP were handling sensitive material and performing tasks the
IEC should have been controlling.

-- In Ghazni, Governor Usmani declared that, based on informal exit
polling conducted by District Subgovernors (DSGs), Karzai received
over 80% of Ghazni's votes. Referring to a collection of polling
centers at which 6,050 Afghans voted, he said 40 people voted for
Abdullah, 10 voted for Bashardost, and the rest voted for Karzai.
The governor said that in the 14 Pashtun districts in Ghazni

province, more than 95% of the eligible voters cast ballots for
Karzai.
-- PRT officer in Panjshir estimated that Abdullah polled roughly
90% in the provincial center of Bazarak, while Karzai took more than
two-thirds of the vote in Marshall Fahim's hometown of Omarz.

RC-South:

-- Lashkar Gah reports that some polling stations remained open
after 1600 for the extra hour while some closed as early as 1530.
There are also many reports from the districts of people refusing to
have their fingers inked for fear of retribution. In Sangin, the
IEC estimated that 15% of voters declined to vote at all when told
the ink was mandatory.
RC-West:

-- Badghis reports there were observers from a number of parties,
and two international observers with no procedural irregularities
observed.

-----
Fraud
-----

6. (SBU) Provincial reports by region follow:

RC-North

-- Balkh Governor Atta told local reporters that if the elections
were free and fair, Abdullah would emerge the winner. He also
claimed that the ink used in at least one voting center in Mazar
could be washed off, thus making it possible for some voters to try
voting more than once. A few voters complained the IEC's election
hotline (190) was not working. The number, which IEC promoted
during the voter registration campaign, was not operational back
then either.

-- In Balkh and Jowzjan, PRT officer observed IEC personnel
frequently assisting elderly and illiterate people who did not
understand what to do with their ballots. Most assistance seemed
well-intentioned. The IEC workers made a point of calling observers
over to the voting booth to listen to what they were telling those
voters who had requested help. Several voters left their marked
ballots in the voting booth, forcing alert IEC personnel to recover
and place them in the ballot boxes.

RC-South:

-- Lashkar Gah, Helmand reports that ANP arrested several IEC poll
workers for stuffing ballots in Babaji after ANP noticed the workers
carrying "hundreds" of completed ballots out after less than 40
people had actually turned up to vote. Observers report strong
indications that these poll workers are connected to former Governor
Sher Muhammad Akhunzada. Also in Lashkar Gah, ANA arrested a man in
possession of 800 fake voter cards.

-- In Kandahar, UNAMA received numerous unconfirmed reports of
election fraud, including ballot box stuffing, voters being turned
away (due to the boxes already having been stuffed), use of fake
registration cards, and police interference.

RC-East:

-- Khost reported that in Bak, Sebari, and Musa Khel districts, the
District Governors reported that either no or very few females
turned up to cast their ballots. However, initial tallies indicate
significant numbers of female votes are being counted, suggesting
that men voted on behalf of female family members. The Sebari
district administrator received a report that an ANA COL (Asrar) and
other ANA members were "strongly urging" voters to vote for Abdullah
at the polling center in Yaqubi.

The District administrator of Msa Khel, Khost indicated that some
individuals attempted to intimidate people visiting the polls 200
meters outside of the sole polling station in the district, telling
them not to vote. However, no voters were reported harmed.

-- Nangarhar IEC Director Dr. Akhtar Ajmal said in a press
conference after polls closed that there were no major cases of
election fraud in the province. However, some election observers
representing PC and presidential candidates reported that some
ballot boxes had been stuffed. The IEC rejected the claim.
-- International observers visited more than a third of Panjshir's
96 polling sites, in every district of the province. For the most
part, voting was orderly and regular, with no evidence of fraud.

However, observers encountered a number of young men throughout the
day who appeared to be under voting age but nevertheless had their
fingers inked. UNAMA reps report that they were prohibited from
entering the main voting center in Khenj district, a Marshall Fahim
stronghold.

RC-West:
-- Badghis reported that out of 11 polling stations at four
different polling centers in Bala Murghab, only one station had
female election workers to assist women voters, despite IEC workers'
claims that there were a total of four polling stations for women.
Depending on the IEC worker interviewed, the total number as well as
location of female-dedicated polling stations in the city center
varied. The deputy of Abdullah's local campaign office in Qal-e Now
insisted that a campaign to stuff the ballot boxes in Bala Murghab
occurred between 1500 and 1700 and requested assistance from IEC
reps during mid-afternoon observations in the district center to
determine whether such fraud took place. He asserted that all
reports he received province-wide indicated that there was
transparency in the process in every district except Bala Murghab.
At one female-designated polling center in Qadis district center,
election workers confirmed they turned away three female voters who
attempted to use voter registration cards issued to other
individuals.

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

7. (U) PUBLIC AFFAIRS UPDATES:

AFGHAN MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

- The leading story in Afghan media was that the vote counting
process has started in most provinces, but it is too soon to
announce preliminary results.

- Tolo TV reported that according to an opinion poll from voters at
three polling centers in Kandahar province, Karzai was the top
candidate, followed by Abdullah Abdullah and Asrhaf Ghani.

- BBC and RTA local stringers and other local journalists were at
the Jibril polling center at closing time interviewing and filming
frustrated voters and polling staff about the long lines and
temporary lack of ballots. Another local journalist was at a Guzara
district polling station interviewing polling center staff and
voters.

- Governor Naseri and the ANA and ANP chiefs for Zabul Province
recorded radio messages congratulating voters on going to the polls
in a province heavily controlled and influenced by the enemy.
Governor Naseri expressed gratitude for voters' courage, thanked the
ANSF for providing security that enabled the elections and noted the
Taliban had promised to disrupt the elections throughout the
province, but were unable to prevent any of the 41 polling centers
in the province from opening and operating throughout the day.
While turnout may have been low, this message is important as it
demonstrates the enemy lacks credibility and cannot conduct
operations against a determined ANSF and GIROA effort.

- Khost Governor Qalandarzai spoke on television and radio
throughout the day, and at 1530, encouraged those who had not yet
cast their ballot to get out and vote. He also thanked the ANSF,
tribal elders, and polling site workers for thier hard work. Khost
residents, interviewed on television and radio, spoke of their duty
and pride in voting.

- Afghan and Lithuanian press visited Chagcharan, Ghor polling
centers. The Lithuanian press will interview the PRT commander for
live TV in Lithuania tonight at 10pm.

- Governor Amin's local media chief filmed the Governor voting at
one of the polling sites and visiting sites throughout Farah city.
While no international press was present in Farah on voting day,
some local Afghan print reporters and a Sada Azadi (ISAF Radio)
reporter covered some polling sites throughout the city.

- Peace Message Radio reported on its evening broadcast that one of
its reporters had observed vote counting at three polling centers,
two in Khost City (at the Yaqubi Mosque and Khost Hospital) and at a
site in Mandozai District. They reported that Karzai was the winner
at the two sites in Khost City and that Ashraf Ghani won in Mandozai
(with Karzai coming second).

- Negah TV reported that prisoners in Pul-e-Charki prison today cast

their votes and participated in the election. Those who were
convicted for less than ten years have a right to cast their votes,
said an official at the prison.

- Negah TV reported that presidential candidate Mirwais Yaseni
expressed his satisfaction about the election. Mutasim Billah
Mazhabi, another presidential candidate, complained about the poor
ink quality and low quality hole punches.

- Shamshad TV reported that presidential candidate Sawar Ahmadzai
believes that no candidate will be able to win the election in the
first round and that it will be decided in a run-off election.

8. Messaging remains consistent with 8pm Afghan Elections Situation
Report eight. We will review and update as necessary for the next
report.


EIKENBERRY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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