September 17th, 2010
10:50 AM ET

18 election workers kidnapped ahead of vote

The Taliban kidnapped 18 people working on Saturday's parliamentary election in northwestern Afghanistan, a local government spokesman said Friday.

And a candidate was kidnapped in easter Afghanistan, said Munir Mohmmad Mangal of the Interior Ministry.

However, a Laghman province spokesman said the candidate, Hayatullah Forqani, was in hiding to prevent being caught for campaigning after the deadline to do so had passed.

In Kabul, President Hamid Kazai acknowledged that the elections will face "difficulties" and "irregularities," but he encouraged Afghans to vote nonetheless.

"The elections ... are going to be facing difficulties and especially in Afghanistan under circumstances we must expect that there'll be irregularities, there'll be problems and there'll be allegations, as well, but we should try to do our best under the circumstances and make the elections a success," he said.

The 10 campaign workers and eight Afghan Independent Election Commission employees were kidnapped Thursday night in the village of Kolagai, said a spokesman for Sharafudin Majid, the Badghis province governor.

The incident is the latest in a wave of violence leading up to the polling Saturday.

The workers were campaigning for candidate Zia Alekozai in a remote area in Badghis province.

On Wednesday, Taliban fighters killed two workers from Afghanistan's main election body.

That attack occurred in a remote district of Afghanistan's northern Balkh province.

The Taliban has threatened to target polling stations during the voting. Security remains a key concern for Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission.

Of the 6,835 polling centers, 1,030 have been ordered closed due to security threats, said Tabish Forugh of the commission. Polls in only nine of Afghanistan's 34 provinces will be fully open Saturday.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry announced it will deploy 52,000 police, soldiers and national security officers on election day. They will be complemented by troops from Afghanistan's NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul has issued a new warning of potential violence surrounding the elections. It alerted U.S. citizens to avoid crowds and public gatherings and said some road closures and checkpoints at polling stations are to be expected.

And the United Nations encouraged international employees not involved with supporting the election to take leave during the polling.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    It wasn't me!

    September 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. txkboy

    So, if the Afghan people are intimidated about going to vote, have we and the Afghan government really done enough to positively influence the daily lives of the Afghan people? Even a simple walk to the market can get you killed. So, what has been accomplished?

    September 18, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ernie Beatty

    Something to turn on the NATO forces on in Afghanistan and try to get the Afghans to turn their back on Islam as Obama wants them to!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      I sincerely hope you're wrong about that,Beatty.If the Afghans turn their back on Islam the way Obama wants them to,that may help NATO take over and no decent person wants that!

      September 18, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Ernie/Dan etc. That is the worst propaganda i have ever read!

      September 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MooHamMadVSMooHamMad


    September 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan in Lafayette,IN

    Could negotiating for the release of these people lead to peace talks with the Taliban?I guess that's only wishful thinking on my part,unfortunately.Anything to stop this obscene carnage!!!

    September 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Very well stated,Dan.Thank you.

      September 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • bailoutsos

        "Afghanistan has been the graveyard and battlefield of empires for centuries.' -- Get all troops out and let them deal with their problems.

        September 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ernie Beatty

        George,I didn't post the above.Really I didn't.Some curse is trying to make a fool out of me!

        September 18, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Can anyone verify I just felt an Earthquake here in Kabul time Local 2355 hrs

      September 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • melissa

      hiiiiiiiiiiiii lol

      September 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |