The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) on Sunday said that it will soon start the assessment process of nearly 7,000 polling stations across the country.
Up to one thousand more employees have been hired to conduct the review and to identify polling stations, IEC secretary Imam Mohammad Warimach said on Sunday.
This however comes as security still remains a challenge ahead of next year’s parliamentary and district council elections, which are scheduled for next July.
Meanwhile, the IEC’s technical and public awareness officials have said that security threats and the lack of accessibility to remote regions of the country were among key challenges for the election commission.
“They will be sent to the site to talk with the people and civil society institutions for 40 or 45 days and will assess the estimated 7,000 polling stations in the country. They will report back to us and then the commission will take action based on their findings,” said Warimach.
On Sunday, heads of the IEC’s public awareness campaign and technical department held a meeting in Kabul to discuss ways on how to assess the polling stations and on training processes for new employees hired for this purpose.
“These employees will go their provinces on Saturday to provide training to other staffers, their work is to assess the polling stations,” said Ezatullah Arman, IEC's training commission deputy chief.
“There are security concerns in some districts while we also have communication issues in some areas where telephones are not working properly, we hope that these problems come to an end,” said Assadullah Zaki, head of IEC technology department in Zabul.
Some ex-IEC employees believe that the training of new staff would be helpful in tackling any possible political meddling in the election process.
“Insecurity is a major headache in our province, security institution’s should provide security to our employees during the assessment of the polling stations,” said Hamidullah Baloch, head of IEC public awareness department in Kunduz.
“There are no serious security problems in Daikundi, there could be some miner security cases in some districts, but overall we should not have any security problems in the province during the elections,” said Masooma Amiri, head of the IEC's public awareness department in Daikundi.
“Using technology in the elections is helpful in identifying the polling stations, but in some remote regions, telecommunication coverage is quite poor, hopefully this would be resolved before elections,” said Fawad Hamnawa, head of the IEC's public awareness department in Kapisa.