An Afghan policeman searches a man at a security checkpoint in Ghazni province, eastern Afghanistan, Oct.11, 2018. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has praised the Afghan security forces' preparation for the upcoming elections, the UNAMA said in a statement on Thursday. (Xinhua/Sayed Mominzadah)
KABUL, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has praised the Afghan security forces' preparation for the upcoming elections, the UNAMA said in a statement on Thursday.
"With Afghanistan's Parliamentary elections little more than a week away, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) notes that, despite significant security challenges, progress has been made by the country's security forces in creating conditions for the majority of citizens to exercise their right to vote," the statement read.
The long-delayed parliamentary and district councils elections are expected to be held on Oct. 20.
More than 2,600 candidates from 33 out of 34 provinces, excluding Ghazni, will stand for the parliament's 249 seats.
"Afghanistan's security forces are fully responsible for providing security for the elections process," Tadamichi Yamamoto, special UN envoy and head of UNAMA, was quoted in the statement as saying.
"Adequate security is required to give the opportunity to as many eligible voters as possible to exercise their constitutional rights," he said.
He also emphasized that Afghans should not be obstructed, intimidated or denied their right to choose their representatives and shape their country's future.
"Any violence or intimidation directed at voters, candidates or electoral officials is totally unacceptable, and I unequivocally condemn it," the UN envoy stressed, citing recent attacks across the country against candidates, their teams and potential voters.
"While fulfilling their critical role in providing security to the process, UNAMA notes that the Afghan security forces also have a responsibility to remain politically impartial in discharging their duties," the statement said.
Nearly 9 million registered voters, including 3 million women, out of some 12 million eligible Afghans, will cast their ballots during the upcoming polls.
The statement came as Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as more than 2,790 civilians were killed and over 5,250 others injured in conflict-related incidents in the first nine months of year, according to figures released by UNAMA on Wednesday.