Afghan Youth Debates: In Ghazni, Thousands Left Without Voting Cards

More than 45,000 voters in Ghazni province have yet to receive registration cards for Afghanistan’s coming presidential and provincial elections, an IWPR debate has heard.

Rahmatullah, a student at Ghazni University, claimed that large numbers of people living in the Andar, Zana Khan and Qarabagh districts still lacked the documents they needed to cast their ballots on April 5.

Shir Ahmad Haidar, a resident of Qarabagh district, told the debate that he estimated more than 45,000 men and women in the three districts had not received voting cards.

Naqibullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, blamed the administrative failure on poor security in these districts. But he also maintained that his staff had succeeded in distributing some 15,000 registration documents to villagers in these areas despite the risk of violence.

The debate was held in the city of Ghazni on December 29 and was attended by around 100 students from around the province.

Juma Khan Hamdard, a lecturer at Ghazni University, told participants, “We have to hold the elections despite the lack of security.”

Other panelists warned that security concerns in the province were severely hampering efforts to engage voters.

Ghazni province lies in central Afghanistan and is home to some 1.1 million people. While the region has mostly avoided the kind of intense fighting seen further south in Helmand and Kandahar, the security situation remains precarious.

In September 2010, Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, the deputy governor of Ghazni, was killed along with five others in a suicide bombing. And in July 2007, 23 Korean missionairies were kidnapped by the Taleban, two of whom were killed before the rest were released.

Abdullah Lamei is a student at Ghazni University and an IWPR trainee. 

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.