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Cablegate: Afghan Elections: Few Difficulties With

VZCZCXRO8906
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #2469/01 2341709
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221709Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1022
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 002469

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: AFGHAN ELECTIONS: FEW DIFFICULTIES WITH
TRANSPORTATION OF BALLOT MATERIALS TO KABUL

1. (U) SUMMARY: In the two days after polls closed, the
transportation of ballots to provincial centers and Kabul has
run smoothly. Ballot box and tally sheet retrieval began
yesterday and will continue through August 28. So far, ISAF
and ANSF have successfully delivered about half of all ballot
boxes and results to provincial offices. Despite some
threats from insurgents to disrupt the transportation of
elections materials, PRTs are reporting few difficulties.
END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ------
A (Mostly) Smooth Road to Ballot Collection Centers
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (U) According to ISAF, transportation of election
material from the provinces to the tally center in Kabul is
going smoothly, though it will take several days to get all
of the material to Kabul. Tally sheets from polling centers
around the country were placed with reconciliation lists and
voting lists into tamper-evident bags on August 20 and 21.
ISAF and ANSF are responsible for transporting these bags to
District and Provincial IEC Headquarters, from where the
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the UN will move
the materials to Kabul for counting. 199 tamper-evident bags
containing results from polling centers in Panjshir and
Parwan have already arrived at IEC Headquarters in Kabul.
The IEC expects the remaining elections materials to arrive
by August 28.

3. (SBU) On August 22, ISAF shared reports with the Embassy
Election Team that insurgents are planning to attack convoys
carrying election materials back to the Provincial IEC hubs
from the polling centers. Despite threats throughout the
south, east, and west, however, we have not yet heard reports
of insurgents interfering with the transportation of election
materials. The only transportation difficulties that have
been reported to us involve a lack of air assets in Purchaman
and Gulistan districts in Farah province.

----------------------------------------
Tranportation Details from the Provinces
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) RC South:

-- Kandahar: As of the afternoon of August 22, ballot
counting had not yet occurred in 20 polling centers in
Kandahar Province, including certain centers in Arghandab,
Panjwayi, and Maywand, and all polling centers in Khakrez.
Most ballot boxes are being retrieved by ground
transportation, though ISAF air transport retrieved ballots
in Nish the evening of August 21.

-- Zabul: As of late evening on August 21, counting in Zabul
was ongoing. The Zabul PEO told the State Department PRT
Officer that he thought voter turnout was approximately
18-20,000, or 15 percent of the 128,000 voters in Zabul.
Counting is expected to be completed on Saturday, August 22.

5. (SBU) RC East:

-- Nuristan: The retrieval of election materials, including
ballots, was nearly on schedule in Nuristan. Officials will
transport materials for collection to Nurgram district,
Jalalabad, and Asadabad rather than to the provincial capital
Parun in order to accommodate the rough terrain. In Nurgram
district all polling sites had delivered their tally sheets
and ballots to the collection point by mid-afternoon on
August 22. Dow Ab district materials, with the exception of
those from Kolak village, also arrived on August 22.

-- Paktya: Several district governors reported to the PRT
representative that ballots were counted at the polling
centers, transported to the district centers, and in many
cases were already on their way to the IEC center in Gardez.
As of 18:00 the PRT confirmed that the IEC center had
received tally sheets from all of Paktya's districts except
Chamkani, Jani Khel, Laja Mengal, and Dand wa Patan. ISAF is
scheduled to move Jani Khel's tally sheets by air on August
23, though coalition forces are working to have ANA air pick
up the sheets before August 23. According to the district
governors, ANSF were assisting with the transport of ballots
and tally sheets. The district governor in Wazi Zadran also
noted that ANSF were very pleased with their cooperation with
coalition forces.

-- Paktika: PEO Taj Ali reported to PRT that all votes have
been counted in polling stations throughout Paktika. The
delivery of tally sheets and non-sensitive items to the IEC
office in Sharana is ongoing; Taj Ali expects all material to
arrive by Monday, August 24. The IEC is currently tabulating

KABUL 00002469 002 OF 002


results they have received from Orgun, Bermel, Sarobi, Yaya
Khel, Sharana, and Saw Hawza.

-- Wardak and Logar: All of the ballots in Logar are now at
the IEC warehouse in Pul-i-Alam. In Wardak all ballots are
at the IEC warehouse in Mayden Shah, except for the ballots
from Markazi Beshood, Hasa Awal Beshood, Jalrez, and
Daymardad districts. Ballots from these districts were in
transit as of late afternoon on August 22. Ballots from both
Wardak and Logar will most likely be transported to Kabul
either late August 22 or early August 23.

-- Ghazni: As of the afternoon of August 22, coalition air
assets have transported ballots and voting materials from
Zanakhan, Rashidan, Khogyani, Giro, and Jagatu districts back
to the IEC in Ghazni City. Coalition assets will seek to
return materials from Jaghori, Malestan, Nawur, and
Ajiristan. Afghan security forces will transport materials
from other districts.

-- Panjshir: On August 21, the PEO transported tamper-evident
bags from 48 polling centers to Kabul, and is ready to
transport an additional 43 tamper-evident bags today, August
22, bringing the total to 91. There is some confusion over
the remaining four tamper-evident bags, which may have
arrived at the PEO mislabeled.

6. (U) RC North:

-- Mazar-e-Sharif: The IEC Regional Coordinator for the
Northwest reported that all ballot boxes had arrived in the
provincial centers as of 17:30 August 22, and they will be
flown from there to Kabul.

7. (U) RC West:

-- Ghor: UNDP-Elect reported to the PRT representative that
the securing and transport of sensitive materials is on
track. UNDP and IEC predict all sensitive materials will be
in Chaghcharan by August 23, and they expect to send the
sensitive materials to Kabul the same afternoon.

-- Farah: Officials in Farah are focusing on the
transportation of ballots out of Purchaman and Gulistan.
Purchaman is isolated from the rest of Farah by extremely
high mountain ranges. Unpaved roads limit travel from the
neighboring district of Gulistan, so materials will need to
be airlifted back to Farah. However, air assets are broken
with no prospect as to when they will be repaired. Gulistan
faces a similar problem due to a shortage of air assets. The
U.S. Marines are proposing to escort the materials to Delaram
and then send them to the Farah Rud station in Bala Baluk.
Bala Baluk materials are in the Farah Rud ANP compound,
awaiting the ANA to escort them to Farah city. ANA and
Marines are currently escorting materials from Baqwa to Farah
city.
EIKENBERRY

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