The campaign for upcoming parliamentary elections officialy kicked off on Friday night with candidates installing billboards in the city and posting videos and pictures on social media platforms.
The vote for the Wolesi Jirga, the Lowe House of parliament, is scheduled for October 20. However, it remains unclear if voting will take place in areas held by the Taliban.
Election monitoring organizations and some officials have said insecurity is a main challenge for the upcoming elections.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 54,776 members of the Afghan National Security and Defense Force will be deployed for security of 5,100 polling centers five days ahead of the elections.
Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi, Senior Deputy Interior Minister for Security, told TOLOnews this week that there will be 9,540 reserved forces.
On Friday morning, roads, power pylons and walls seemed decorated with candidates’ photos. Some candidates installed their photos on vehicles.
Kabul residents said some candidates have installed their photos on walls of their houses and other places that they are not allowed.
They said some candidates are using street children for carrying their campaigns.
“They should campaign based on the law and should not create pollution in the city,” said Mohammad Shaker, a Kabul resident.
“Last night, some candidates installed many photos on the walls. This has given the city a different image," said Mohamamd Shafiq, a Kabul resident.
“Candidates have installed banners on walls, doors and shops without permission of their owners. They should respect the law,” said Ghulam Farooq, a Kabul resident.
Figures by Independent Election Commission (IEC) show that there are more than 2,500 candidates, including 400 women, competing for 249 parliamentary seats.
The IEC media office said that candidates will be prosecuted if they violated the law during their campaigns.
The office has so far fined almost 60 candidates between 30,000 to 100,000 AFs over early campaigns.
“Posting speeches on social media during the electoral campaigns that can damage national unity and promote technic, tribal and lingual differences are in contravention of the law,” said Mohammad Rafi Rafiq Sidiqi, head of the IEC media committee.
Among the candidates from the major tribes in Afghanistan, a number of youths from minority groups were also seen starting their campaigns.
Anisa Pashaee said she is the first female candidate from Pashaee ethnic group.
She said if she makes her way to the parliament, she will fight discrimination against minorities.
“I am from a deprived ethnic group. Maybe other ethnic groups are deprived too. Our Tajik ethnic group is deprived, our Pashtun ethnic group is deprived, because only the powerful people have entered into politics and have filled their pockets only,” said Pashaee.
Another candidate from a minority group is Ajmal Baluchzada whose photos are mostly seen in the central parts of Kabul, according to some residents. “Justice for My Daughter” is his slogan. He said he will work for equal justice in the society if he is elected as an MP.
Baluchzada criticized the way some candidates carry on their campaigns, saying that the candidates should not disturb the people during their campaigns by installing their photos and banners on the walls of others’ houses.
“I want to demonstrate a model in this campaign. In this model Kabul residents from different ethnicities have cooperated with us, without asking that who I am, what language do I speak and which ethnic group I belong to,” said Baluchzada.
Among these candidates was Maryam Sama who chose a different for starting his campaign as she organized a blood donation campaign for Afghan security and defense forces.
“In a place where everyone is unhappy and pessimist, I talk about participation,” said Sama.
The Afghan government has agreed to use biometric system for the upcoming election – which will be the first time for Afghanistan to experience this technology for the electoral process