Local News Summary - Sept 14

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In today's local news: UN chief demonstrates finger-staining ink; Karzai meets security chiefs ahead of Saturday's poll; ballot papers being delivered; violence and allegations of candidate intimidation in Balkh, Ghazni, Uruzgan and Baghlan; a candidate in fear. 

UN Chief Gives Support for Voters' Ink
Afghan2010.com, Sept 14

United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan Staffen de Mistura has given his approval to the ink to be used in Saturday's election. At a press conference with the chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Mr de Mistura demonstrated how he said the ink would help prevent fraud. See our notes from the press conference here

Man arrested with 3,000 fake voter registration cards
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 14

Intelligence operatives have arrested two people with thousands of fake voting cards in southern Ghazni province, an official said on Tuesday. About 3,000 fake cards printed in Pakistan were recovered from the detainees, provincial Independent Election Commission office head, Obaidullah Usmani. "The cards belong to a candidate," he said, but did not name the candidate. [PAN]

Voting in Four Ghazni Districts Impossible: IEC Official
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 14

The head of Ghazni's independent election commission has accused security officials of trying to keep polling stations open in four troubled districts, only so they can get extra financial benefit. Obaidullah Usmani said they had delisted four districts, including Rashidan, Khogyani, Gero and Zankhan due to security problems. [PAN]

Karzai Orders Tight Security for Elections
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 13

President Hamid Karzai has ordered security officials to employ all available resources to maintain security for next week's parliamentary vote, his office said on Monday.
Karzai held a meeting with high-ranking government officials to discuss the September 18 election, a statement issued from the president's office said. [PAN]

Ballot Papers Sent to Polling Centers
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 13

The process of sending ballot papers to polling stations for the September 18 parliamentary election started on Monday. The process should be finished by Friday, the day before the election, the spokesman for the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Noor Muhammad Noor, told Pajhwok Afghan News. He said papers had already arrived in areas with tough terrain such as northwestern Badakhshan province. [PAN]

Candidate Accuses Rival of Conspiracy
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 13

A female candidate, standing in next week's parliamentary elections from northern Baghlan province, has accused her rival of hatching false propaganda intended to thwart her victory. Shukriya Essakhel said her rival candidate, Dr Khalil Narmgoi, who she said was unable to win the contest, had used his sons to spread negative propaganda against her. She added his sons had distributed cards and letters asking people not to vote for her. [PAN]

Candidate Survives Assassination Attempt in Ghazni
8am, Dari daily, Sept 14

Arif Rahmani, a candidate in Ghazni province, came under attack from armed men in a region close to his home town. Mr. Rahmani survived but one of his bodyguards was wounded.

Two Campaign Workers Injured in Balkh
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 14

Two campaign workers wounded when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in northern Balkh province, officials said on Tuesday. The two men worked for Abas Ibrahimzada, who told Pajhwok Afghan News the incident happened in Dowlat Abad district. A driver and a campaigner were wounded, he said. The injured were taken hospital where the driver is in critical condition, he added. [PAN]

Insecurity Stops Ballot Boxes Getting to Two Uruzgan Districts
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 13

Ballot boxes for Saturday's election cannot be sent by road to two districts in central Uruzgan province because of poor security, election officials said on Monday.
"ISAF has not given us a helicopter to transfer the materials nor can police take them by road" to Chinarto and Khas Uruzgan districts, provincial head of Independent Election Commission (IEC), Naseer Ahmad Jalali, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
However, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was ready to help but had not received any request from the interior of defense ministries. [PAN]

Afghanistan’s Next Challenge: Elections 2010
Christian Science Monitor, Sept 13

The violence engulfing Afghanistan the paralyzed political institutions in Kabul, and the very real chance that the war-torn country's upcoming elections will be swayed once again by vote-buying and fraud, would seem enough to drive talented young people here as far from politics as they can get. But to listen to Janan Mosazai, an energetic 30-year-old legislative candidate with a political science degree from Canada's Carleton University, the fight for Afghanistan's future begins now, and begins at the ballot box. [CSM]

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail for Afghan MPs
BBC, Sept 14

Mahmood Gilani's life is in danger. He is part of a group of people in Afghanistan who are under direct threat from the Taliban. As the insurgents see it, his "crime" is to stand as a candidate for the parliamentary elections on 18 September. [BBC]

Afghanistan to Show ‘Ballots Better than Bullets’
AFP, Sept 14

Afghanistan's parliamentary election this Saturday will prove to war-weary Afghans that ballots are better than bullets to resolve conflict, the UN envoy to the country has told AFP. Staffan de Mistura said in an interview that cancelling the vote - already twice posponed - would hand a victory to the Taliban, as the war intensifies and insurgents act on threats to attack candidates and their supporters.