Economy, Asia - Pacific

US to fund $29 million for Afghan presidential polls

US Embassy in Kabul has urged candidates to respect Afghan law that prohibits use of gov't resources for electoral campaign

Shadi Khan Saif   | 17.07.2019
US to fund $29 million for Afghan presidential polls

KABUL, Afghanistan 

The U.S. would provide much-needed $29 million to support smooth conduct of forthcoming presidential polls in Afghanistan, an official statement said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Embassy said Washington will also extend financial help for hiring independent domestic Afghan observers, so people have confidence in the electoral process and the results. It asked the election commission to hire and train additional staff in preparation of voter lists, procurement as well as verifications by using biometric devices.

The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass urged all candidates to respect the Afghan law that prohibits candidates whether in government or not, from using government resources to benefit their campaign.

''And, we expect all the candidates, whether they are currently in government positions or not, to refrain from trying to use government resources, whether that is money, whether that's the power to appoint people, whether that is simply going about their business in ways, that is intended to benefit their campaign,'' he said.

The U.S. suggestion comes a day after the local watchdogs claimed the Afghan government has no mechanism in place, to ensure transparency during the forthcoming presidential polls scheduled on Sept. 28.

As ambiguities surround the presidential polls, amid fast-tracked peace process, the country's election commission on Monday finalized the list of contesting candidates. These included, the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, his power-sharing CEO, Abdullah Abdullah, former National Security Adviser, Haneef Atmar, and former Mujahedeen leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

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