UN-NATO Documents Detail Violence and Voter Supression in Afghan Elections

A United Nations Department of Safety and Security graph shows the annual increase in violence as the war has gone on. The giant spikes occur around election periods over the last two years.

Public Intelligence

According to a series of classified reports from NATO and the UN that were recently published by this site,  the recent elections in Afghanistan were marred by “unprecedented” levels of violence including voter intimidation, kidnapping of election workers and candidates, as well as attacks on polling stations and ballot distribution systems.

A confidential United Nations “Joint Security Analysis” covering the week of the elections states that the country experienced a “massive increase” in violence  “due to an unprecedented peak of security incidents recorded on Election Day 18 September.”  In fact, there was such a significant and “unprecedented” increase in violence leading up to the elections that this created a significant decrease in subsequent attacks because insurgent forces were literally running out of ammunition.

A threat-letter received by Dr. No'azam Sadighi of Qal'ah-yeh and written by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mo'ayed, threatening him and demanding he not participate in the elections.

UN graphs of security incident data throughout the country demonstrate a tremendous increase in security incidents over previous years.  This year’s peak of security incidents, which consistently occurs during the week of the elections, rose by more than 50% of the 2009 values.  The UN states that the Election Day incidents were estimated to include approximately 490 incidents, which is an increase of 64% over the 299 incidents reported in 2009.  The majority of these incidents involve insurgents (INS) and anti-government elements (AGE) placing IEDs, setting up illegal checkpoints to discourage potential voters, and attacking convoys and polling centers run by Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC).

In addition to attacks conducted by insurgents and anti-government elements, the documents also describe a number of incidents where  resistance to the elections came from portions of the Afghan population.  One of the UN election situation reports states that approximately 1,500 people participated in protests in the Central Region of Afghanistan.  One protest involved 1,000 people blocking the road in Wardak Province, setting contractor vehicles on fire and taking the drivers hostage.  Later that day, 500 people in Wardak Province blocked the main road from Kabul to Kandahar.  However, some protests were in favor of the elections, such as a 500-person demonstration in Nangarhar Province against the IEC’s decision to close down a number of polling centers due to security concerns.

There was also a fairly high incidence of kidnapping, as well as written intimidation.  An incident reported by NATO on September 16, 2010 involved insurgents kidnapping  the male and female heads of the AB-E BAREEK polling station along with more than a dozen other people.  In another incident, prior to the election, ten people were kidnapped and five campaign workers were murdered.

Fraud is mentioned repeatedly in several of the UN and NATO reports as a destabilizing force against the Afghan government.  According to one NATO assessment of Ghazni Province, there were reports “early on of potential fraud and corruption as candidates were reportedly paying locals for votes. This could shed negative light on GIRoA’s handling of corrupt politicians and discredit efforts to provide an effective form of governance in the province. Overall, reports indicate that INS efforts to disrupt the elections were effective and will likely use the opportunity to create an IO campaign to further delegitimize GIRoA and garner local populace support.”

SIGACTs map detailing the Eastern region of Afghanistan during the week of the elections from Sept. 13 - 19, 2010. According to the caption: The huge number of INS attacks in Nuristan (over 70 last week, with half on 18 SEP alone) and that they were all a form of direct fire (some including IED emplacements) effectively prevented large scale participation in the parliamentary election.

Graph of SIGACTs in Regional Command - North for each day throughout the lead-up to the elections on September 18, 2010.

Selected Excerpts Relating to Election Violence and Intimidation:

UN SIOC Reports:

The number of security incidents experienced a dramatic increase over the previous week. This increase included primarily armed clashes, IED incidents and stand-off attacks, and was witnessed in all regions.

At a close look, the massive increase is due to an unprecedented peak of security incidents recorded on Election Day 18 September, with incidents falling back to the September average of 65 per day afterwards. Incidents were more widely spread than compared to last year’s Election Day on 20 August 2009, but remained within the year-on-year growth span predicted by UNDSS-A. As last year, no spectacular attacks were recorded on 18 September, as the insurgents primarily targeted the population in order to achieve a low voter turn-out.

While the process of consolidation of incidents is ongoing and figures for Election Day are yet to be fully finalized, Election Day security incidents figures are estimated as approximately 490 incidents, compared to 299 in 2009 – an increase of 64%. This corresponds to the average year-on-year growth of 54% recorded between 2009 and 2010 and is in line with projections

- p. 1, UNDSS-A SIOC Report Week 38

There were four demonstrations including three on E day. While three demonstrations in Darwaz-e-Bala, Yawan and Jurm Districts in Badakhshan were related to inadequate ballot papers, on 22 Sep around 200 persons supported by PM candidates demonstrated in Pul-i-Khumri District, Baghlan calling for the disqualification of other candidates accused of fraud.

- p. 4, UNDSS-A SIOC Report Week 38

Numerous reports of electoral fraud are reportedly being received by ECC and other entities in SR. Although it is not expected that these issues could lead to violence between the candidates, threats and intimidation against IEC and ECC staff are possible.

- p. 8, UNDSS-A SIOC Report Week 38

Twelve arrests were reported; four involved voter fraud and the seizure of fake female ballot papers in Nangarhar Province.

- p. 12, UNDSS-A SIOC Report Week 38

UN Election Situation Reports:

Northern Region: General security situation:

General security situation remained calm in the region with exception of Darzab and Qush Tepa districts. Reports indicate that AGE’s presence in the mentioned districts has been noted lately and accordingly, these AGEs plan to attack IEC/ANSF/IM who will proceed and conduct election-related activities in the area. Reports also indicate that AGEs have planted several IED/mines along the Qush Tepa-Darzab roads in order to target election-related movements in the area.

On 15 September, Balkh Province, Chahar Bolak District, Denaw Village, at approximately 1900hrs, two IEC staff members identified as Haji Mohammad Halim son of Faqir Mohammad, age 35, and Aziz Ahmad son of Nasir Ahmad, age 27 were killed by unidentified gunmen believed to be AGE. The victims were also teachers in one of the district schools. Reportedly they were threatened to quite the job with IEC earlier.

On 15 September, Faryab Province, Almar District, 10km East of DAC, at approximately 1830hrs, reportedly AGE mounted an illegal check point on the ring road. They preached against the Government and warned passengers not to participate in the elections. The passengers were released unharmed after the evening prayers.

- p. 2, 0001/10-16-10

Uruzgan province: Sep 15, at 1309 hrs, Chora District, 2 x election workers were stabbed by unknown perpetrators and MEDEVAC to Tarin Kowt.

- p. 3, 0001/10-16-10

Badakhshan:

On 16 Sep 2010, at 1100hrs, an IED was safely defused by ANP as it was planted in Yaransha area on the way to Argo district. Reportedly, the target was the IEC Material convoy expected to leave today for Argo district.

Baghlan:

On 16 September, Dand-e-Ghori area, Puli-e-Khumri District, in the evening time, an IEC District Field Coordinator (DFC) who was assigned to cover Khwaja Alwan area in Chashma-i-Sher, Puli-e-Khumri District was abducted by unknown persons. The abducted person lived in Dand-e-Ghori area and his last contact with IEC was Wednesday evening around 1700hrs.

- p. 1, 0002/10-16-10

General security situation: General security situation remained calm in the region with exception of Darzab and Qush Tepa Districts of Jawzjan Province. Reports indicate that the AGE’s presence in the mentioned districts has been noted lately and accordingly the AGE plan to attack IEC/ANSF/IM conducting election-related activities in the area. Reports also indicate that AGE have planted several IED/mines along the Qush Tepa-Darzab roads in order to target election-related movements in the area.

In Maymana City, Faryab Province, there is a visible presence of ANP at strategic locations, who are conducting vehicle search operations. Rumours about the presence of suicide bombers in the city exist however no confirmation has been received from the official sources. The ongoing vehicle search operation in different parts of the city is believed to be a mitigating measure against rumours of suicide bombers as well as possible demonstration of ANP alertness for the coming Elections.

On 15 September, Samangan Province, Dara-i-Sufi Payin District, Centre area, an IEC DFC received threatening messages on his cellular phone from AGE to quite job with IEC or otherwise face hard consequences. On 15 September, Balkh Province, Nahre Shahi District, Shahrak Afghania and Turkmania Villages, village representative received a phone call from AGE, threatening villagers not to participate in the elections as they are going to attack the polling centers. On 16 September, Samangan Province, Dare Suf Payin District, Kanda Moshak Village, at approximately 1500hrs, two IEDs detonated against ANP convoy escorting IEC transporting ballot materials. Two ANP vehicles sustained slight damages, but no casualties were reported.

On 16 September, Badghis Province, Qadis District, Band Jora area, at 1330 hrs, ANSF convoy escorting elections material from DAC to Gulchin village came under SAF attack by AGE. No casualty or damage was reported.

On 16 September, Badghis Province, Qadis District, Gulchin Village, Kotal Khaki area, 1400 hrs, a reinforcement force of locals and ANP on their way to support ANSF convoy was ambushed in the area. No casualty was reported.

- p. 3-4, 0002/10-16-10

Uruzgan province:

Sep 16, 1440 hrs Nachin area of TK city, convoys with election material left for Dehrawood and Chorah districts. The convoy to Chorah was not able to pass a demonstration of local population against the abuse of the Holy Qoran by international forces.

- p. 3-4, 0002/10-16-10

Helmand Province:

Sep 16, Nad Ali District, during the day DFC asked CoP to provide accommodation for the night. CoP has been up DFC and threw and confined him in a container.

Sep 15, at approximately 17:00 hrs in Marja Area, Nad Ali District, Helmand province IEC sensitive material convoy coming from Lashka Gah was attacked by AGE, no casualties and no damaged to material.

Sep 15, at 1718 hrs AGE attacked an IEC convoy this afternoon in Marjah District. There were no casualties and no damage to the IEC materials reported. ISAF provided air support after the attack and the convoy was able to continue to proceed to its destination.

Election Related Incident:

On 15 September, Ghazni Province, Ab Band, Giro, Zana Khan, Rashidan, Qarabagh, Andar, Dih Yak, Muqur Districts, AGE warned local population not to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections or otherwise face tough consequences.

On 16 September, Ghazni Province, Rashidan District, DAC, in the morning; AGE attacked an IEC helicopter with RPG/SAF. (to be confirmed)

On 16 September, Ghazni Province, Ghazni Center, Rawza Village, approx 0900hrs; an IED planted next to a local school was discovered and defused by ANP. (This is a girl’s school that is designated to be used as a Polling Center)

On 15 September, Khost Province, Mando Zayi District, Dilpori area, nighttime; AGE distributed leaflets warning the locals not to participate in upcoming elections or otherwise be killed.

- p. 5-6, 0002/10-16-10

On 16 September, at 1015hrs, locals numbering approx 500 staged a demonstration against the IEC’s decision to close down several polling stations in Sherzad District of Nangarhar Province among others. Some of the protesters were reported to be armed thus raised the profile of the protest as a potentially violent one. The demonstration however ended peacefully at 1215hrs following the intervention of the ANSF and government officials who assured the protesters of redress of their grievances before the elections.

- p. 6, 0002/10-16-10

On 16 September, Wardak Province, Maydan Shahr District, approximately 1000hrs; reportedly 1000 people staged demonstrations against the elections. The demonstrators blocked the main Kabul – Kandahar road, set three IM contracted civilian trucks on fire and three truck drivers were taken hostage by the demonstrators. Reportedly, the demonstrators fired some shots at ANSF.

On 16 September, Wardak Province, Nerkh District, Qarimdad area, approximately 1000hrs; a group of people demonstrated by shouting slogans against the elections and IM, some unconfirmed reports suggested that the demonstrators opened fire at an ISAF convoy traveling in the area.

On 16 September, Wardak Province, Saydabad District, approximately 1030 hrs; a demonstration against the elections was attended by approximately 400 to 500 people. The demonstrators blocked the main Kabul – Kandahar road during the demonstrations.

On 16 September, Wardak Province; the ANSF reportedly discovered approximately 38 already positioned rockets. The ANSF is planning to defuse these rockets. The rockets were meant to disrupt the elections.

- p. 7, 0002/10-16-10

NATO IDC Reports:

On 29 AUG 2010, there was a suicide bombing in central Heart city, a rare event, the occurrence of which does not portend well for the security situation in the city or the province as a whole. However, there were many instances of threats, intimidation and outright violence targeting candidates, voters and campaign workers throughout RC-W, including the 29 AUG 2010 kidnapping of ten and murder of five of Fawzia Gilani’s campaign workers.

- p. 2, NATO IDC Report, Week of 29 AUG – 5 SEP 2010

On 02 SEP it was revealed that parliamentary elections candidate No’azam Sadighi of Qal’ah-yeh Now District received a letter, written by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mo’ayed, threatening him and demanding he not participate in the elections.

- p. 3, NATO IDC Report, Week of 29 AUG – 5 SEP 2010

Also on 30 AUG, it was reported that a local Taliban leader named Moliy Jammaludin Mansor delivered a threat letter to the people of Bala Murghab, M urghab District, demanding that they move from the area, not cooperate with CF and support the Taliban.

- p. 4, NATO IDC Report, Week of 29 AUG – 5 SEP 2010

Ghar Province saw a higher than usual level of activity in the past seven days, with five events recorded, including acts of intimidation against candidates. On the evening of 03 SEP the vehicle of a parliamentary candidate, Haji Qurban, was set alight for unknown reasons. It is believed that this event took place in connection to the upcoming elections.

- p. 5, NATO IDC Report, Week of 29 AUG – 5 SEP 2010

Over several days in late August (29 – 31) there were several reported attempts by insurgents to convince the people of Shah Joy and Mizan Districts in Zabul to not take part in the elections. These attempts involved letters and messages played late at night over loud speakers. In one message, insurgents did not urge voters to abstain , but instead demanded they vote for Pashtun candidates over Tajik or Dari speaking candidates.

- p. 9, NATO IDC Report, Week of 29 AUG – 5 SEP 2010

Nad ‘Ali – Local elders in Nad ‘Ali are attempting to encourage LN to vote for candidates with whom they are tribally connected . The tribal elders involved may have been bribed by supporters of these candidates to attempt to sway locals. Taliban are also planning on conducting vehicle checkpoints (VCP) during the elections to prevent LN from voting. In response, many LN in the area do not intend on participating in the election.

- p. 12, NATO IDC Report, Week of 6 SEP -12 SEP 2010

INS affiliated election threat is also high in Khost District, where HQN intends to infiltrate the election process by introducing their own candidate in the elections

- p. 17, NATO IDC Report, Week of 6 SEP -12 SEP 2010

INS continued to plan to target elections with the installation of illegal checkpoints to block ballot boxes from being delivered to Nurgaram District.

- p. 21, NATO IDC Report, Week of 6 SEP -12 SEP 2010

A CF unit Maimanah received information from the US Department of State that two (2) IEC Officers were attacked and killed by INS in DAH NOW Village, C HARBOLAK District on 15th SEP. The victims were the Identification officer Mullah Azid Muhammed and the Polling Center Manager Muhammed Alam.

- p. 4, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010


At 0847 INS attacked the ALiBAD District Center with one rocket and 15 to 20 INS moved toward the polling station. A CF unit responded to the event with a scout platoon and the ANP QRF. ANSF engaged INS IVO the polling station. According to unconfirmed information 2 ANP policemen were KIA.

- p. 7, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

A CF unit based in Fayzabad gained information from the OCC-P that the polling station in FARMAQOLl Village was attacked by INS. The polling station will be opened after the ANP have taken over INS positions. Additionally ANP had to conduct an OP lOT ensure access to the polling station in KHUMBUK. The situation in TAGAB District was critical. According to ANSF sources two (2) Taliban leaders were detained by ANSF and two (2) INS were KIA.

- p. 8, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

INS KIDNAP LNs in AB E KAMARI and MUQUR Districts: According to the OCC-R, at 161800 SEP10, 2 x LN workers for the IEC (Independent Electoral Committee) in AB-E KAMARI and up to 17 x LN (7 of them being employees for the IEC too) were kidnapped. They are:
- ABDUL AGH, son of ABDUL RAHIM (Head of AB-E BAREEK polling station);
- ABDUL HAMIID, son of ABDUL KARIIM (Head of the AB-E BAREEK female polling station). They were taken by armed militants of NOOR MOHAMMAD, a suspected TB CDR and moved to the MOMA MADZAY area of SANGATESH.

The 7 IEC employees abducted in MUQUR are:
- ABDUL NABI, son of Mullah TOTI (Head of RUBAT Polling Station);
- ABDUL AZIZ (Head of MIRANZAI polling station);
- BRAKAT (Head of MIRANZAI female polling station);
- FAZEL (Registration);
- ZIAUL-HAQ (Registration);
- ABDUL RASHID (Guide);
- BAAZ GULL (ballot box controller).

They were taken by armed militants of Mullah MANAN-E DIWANA and moved to SOOT KHEEL, from where they were moved to GHULOGHAY Village. According to the reports received on 17SEP1 0, the abducted are of Pasthun ethnicity, some of them are relatives of INS, they would not be kidnapped but only held, and they could be released soon.

- p. 13, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

- 0907· From at 0847 -  INS presence in ANDRASKAN District: INS in BARGHANA Village are threatening people not to go to vote in 2ARDA LOOQ.
- 0933 RC W JOC -IEDs and SAF in KEK District: In KUSHK·E·KOHNA, in JOYE SULTANI , elders won’t allow ANP to reach the village due to a mine field. Due to a mine field, elections commission transferred the election polling site.

- p. 14, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

- 0935 RCW BTL CPT – SAF in GULRAN District: INS (around 60) presence was reported from GULRAN with intention to disrupt the election process. ANA Commando going to be deployed there. BOA reported: 1 ANA KIA, 4 ANA WIA.

-1148 LNO POLICE HQ – INS presence in KEK District: INS took two closed Polling Centers, in KHOSE SHOEB Village and KHOSE KALANDER Viliage.
- 1154 OCCR – SAF against Polling stations in KEK District: In KUSHK (RABAT-E SANGI) District 3 PS’s located in CHEHEL DOKHTARAN have been attacked by INS. IEC fled from the PS’s, ANP is managing the situation and recovered electoral ballots.

- p. 15, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

- 1511 PRT HERAT – Attack on Polling Center in GULRAN District: At 181454 SEP10 HRT PHO reported that polling center of KHOJIANI (GULRAN District) is under INS attack. ANP is in lack of forces. Later PHQ reported that INS are withdrawing from polling center.
- 1544 Police HO REPORTS – Attack on Polling Centers in OSEH and KEK Districts: At 1400 polling center in JONOWA VILLAGE, OBEH District was under attack I polling center in KHVAJEH MOWRY Village KUSHK-E KOHNAH District is under attack. The ANP commander is in the polling center.

Direct fire in SIAHWASHAN, NIZAM-E SHAHID District: At 172150 SEP 10 the polling center beside ANP CHARKUCHEGHI CP in SIAHVASHAN Village was attacked with RPG (3 rockets) and small arms. The attack ended around 2205 without casualties, and only minor damages to the structure.

Attacked convoy in SHINDAND District: On 171238 SEP 10, ADRASKAN NDS informed CF about a blast near NAGAL Village. As reported by NDS, a civilian truck was involved in an lED explosion while it was delivering ballot papers to polling centers situated along Road 509. ADRASKAN ANP personnel, who were escorting the aforementioned truck, said that the driver and two LNs were WIA (one individual lost two legs, one individual lost one leg). ANP cordoned the area. The three WIA were evacuated to HERAT. On 171355 SEP 10, CF were sent to CHAHAK Village and linked up with one ANP unit. Then they together reached the location of the event. In addition, according to the information reported by the Intelligence Officer of ADRASKAN ANP, two of three individuals wounded in the lED blast died while they were transported to HERAT clinic facility. They were the elders of two villages of the lower FARSI valley: DEH KHAR and MASK.

- p. 16, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

INS attack Polling Center in GULCHIN Village, QADIS District: According to OCCR-W, at 180755 SEP 10, the MEER GHAS school polling center, in GULCIN Village was under attack of INS forces (UNK number) with light weapons (AK, MG, RPG). ANP was fighting the INS. At 1100, the fight was ongoing and the situation was getting worst; heavy fire was received, and up to 50xTB led by ABDUL HAKIM and ABDUL HAY were concentrating. The ANSF requested CAS. At 1300, GULCIN was about to fall. They were running out of ammo. ANSF requested a Show of Force and air resupply of ammunition.

INS attack Polling Center in KUMURI Village, MUQUR District: IAW the OCCR-W information, since 180750 SEP 10, KUMURI Village was under attack by the INS established in the mountains surrounding the village firing at the villagers when they were trying to enter the polling center at KUMURI Clinic. QRF was requested to support the ANP. At 1030 insurgents stopped the incident. At 1223 INS attacked again.

Although there were numerous attacks against polling sites, the overall election process was deemed successful within RC East. However, reporting throughout RC-E continue to highlight INS’ plans to conduct attacks that will disrupt the election process. Although the Election Day concluded , the election process still remains vulnerable to INS and criminal influence as they attempt to sway the population at a local level and infiltrate in the GIRoA through changing the ballots as well as targeting ballot transit vehicles.

Additionally, there has been a continued threat to election candidates th roughout the province. While there was not a significant amount of kinetic activity in Parwan on Election Day, it is possible INS will attempt to ta rget post election logistics in order to affect the outcome.

- p. 25, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

In Ghazni Province, INS continued to target candidates of the parliamentary elections, failing in an attack to kill a candidate campaigning in Qarabagh (KTO). In this case, the local villagers protected the candidate from the TB, indicating a possible shift in local support.

- p. 27, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

In Ghazni Province, INS continued to target candidates of the parliamentary elections, failing in an attack to kill a candidate campaigning in Qarabagh (KTO). In this case, the local villagers protected the candidate from the TB, indicating a possible shift in local support.

- p. 27, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

Aside from the overall threat to the elections from INS, there were also reports early on of potential fraud and corruption as candidates were reportedly paying locals for votes. This could shed negative light on GIRoA’s handling of corrupt politicians and discredit efforts to provide an effective form of governance in the province. Overall, reports indicate that INS efforts to disrupt the elections were effective and will likely use the opportunity to create an IO campaign to further delegitimize GIRoA and garner local populace support.

In the Nuristan, Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar area, the majority of reporting centered around elections that occurred on 18 Sep 2010. Reporting of intimidation was high, and coordination for attacks was highest in Konar Province. The attacks were predominately harassing in nature, with large scale attacks reportedly planned but not engaged. Threats to the election process continue, with ballot boxes needing to be transported to Kabul. Numerous reports indicate INS intent to attack trucks transporting ballot boxes; however the threat is not limited to the INS. Attacks against ballot boxes and candidates may also be linked to criminal activity and political corruption.

- p. 28-29, NATO IDC Report, Week of 13 SEP -19 SEP 2010

Share this:

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *