By TRG Alerts Admin
The Rendon Group Snapshot Report
Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue. The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Presidential Runoff Election in Afghanistan
This week’s snapshot focuses on the 14JUN presidential runoff election held between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi. The first round of elections was held on 05APR, in which Abdullah captured 45% of the vote, while Ahmadzi won 31.6%. The second round of elections was tense, with Abdullah surviving an assassination attempt, and an overall atmosphere of violence and intimidation by the Taliban. According to officials, about seven million people showed up to vote, and the election was hailed as a success by the UN. Counting the ballots will take several weeks, with preliminary results to be published on 02JUL.
News Summary of events during the week of 09JUN-16JUN
Sample of Twitter handles regarding the Presidential Runoff Election in Afghanistan:
@nohodge – Nathan Hodge, reporter at the Wall Street Journal
@HeidiVogt – Heidi Vogt, correspondent for East Africa, Wall Street Journal, formerly AP, Afghanistan
@mrosenbergNYT – Matthew Rosenberg, Afghanistan correspondent, New York Times
@Samiyousafzai – Sami Yousafzai, Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent, Newsweek/Dailybeast
@jessdonati – Jessica Donati, Afghanistan correspondent, Reuters
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Presidential Runoff Election in Afghanistan:
Saad Mohseni, Owner, Tolo Television
“It’s been an eight-month campaign, the fact that Afghans still turned out is a sign of their determination to stick with the process.”
– Afghanistan votes in second round of presidential elections, The Guardian, 14JUN14.
Wadir Safi, Law Professor, Kabul University
“If they (mujahedeen alliances supporting Abdullah Abdullah) win, it will be very dangerous for security, progress and democracy in Afghanistan.”
– Abdullah Abdullah Moves Toward Center of Afghan Power, New York Times, 13JUN14.
Borhan Osman, Expert, Afghanistan Analysts Network
“This swap was not part of anything related to the peace process…. It was a stand-alone agreement. And as such it is of no help to future talks between the Taliban and Kabul.”
– Afghanistan presidential campaign stays away from Bergdahl release, Los Angeles Times, 11JUN14.
Greg Minjack, Head, Democracy International’s Elections Observation Mission
“There were more polling centers this time around. In areas where one polling center was overcrowded with voters additional sites were added to compensate.”
– Did over seven million Afghans really vote for their next president?, Christian Science Monitor, 15JUN14.
Idrees Zaman, Analyst, Cooperation for Peace and Unity
“The biggest challenge for the candidates will be managing the expectations of their supporters. The tension is already there.”
– Afghans Turn Out to Vote Despite Taliban Violence, Wall Street Journal, 16JUN14.
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Presidential Runoff Election in Afghanistan:
ISLAMABAD, June 9 (Xinhua) — Pakistan Monday dismissed as irresponsible allegations by Afghan intelligence agencies that the attack on presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s convoy was planned in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.
Abdullah survived the assassination attempt in the twin bomb attacks in Kabul on Friday that killed 10 people, including his guards.
The Afghan intelligence agency, the NDS, said the attack was planned in Peshawar.
“We firmly reject any insinuation of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack on presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s convoy and allegations of seeking to “disrupt” elections in Afghanistan,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.
No group has claimed responsibility and the Taliban avoided comments on the attack.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan police and soldiers are manning checkpoints at almost every intersection, searching vehicles and banning trucks from the streets, tightening security ahead of a weekend presidential election.
Insurgents have intensified attacks ahead of Saturday’s runoff vote, and the Taliban have issued a new statement warning voters to stay away from the polls. The first round in April passed relatively peacefully, but a recent assassination attempt against one of the two presidential hopefuls left in the race has raised fears.
KABUL, June 14, 2014 (AFP) – At least 46 people were killed in separate militant attacks in Afghanistan on Saturday as the country voted in a run-off presidential election, officials said.
“Eleven police, 15 ANA (Afghanistan National Army) and 20 civilians were martyred,” Interior Minister Omar Daudzai told reporters, adding that about 60 militants were also killed.
UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday congratulated Afghan people for exercising their right to vote in the second round of the presidential election on Saturday.
“The participation of men and women across the country demonstrates, once again, the commitment of the Afghan people to shape the future of their country and to reject violence and intimidation,” said a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.
The UN chief commended the performance of the Afghan security forces and all those involved in supporting the conduct of the vote, including the Independent Electoral Commission and thousands of Afghan observers.
KABUL, June 15, 2014 (AFP) – Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday accused senior election officials of serious fraud, opening a dispute over the vote count that could threaten a smooth transition of power.
The United Nations had called on candidates to give officials time to conduct the count and investigate fraud allegations, but Abdullah launched a verbal assault on the Independent Election Commission (IEC) one day after the vote.
He said that the turnout figure of 7 million voters announced by the IEC commissioner Ahmad Yousuf Nuristani was probably false.
And he demanded the sacking of Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail, chief of the IEC secretariat, over an alleged attempt by Amarkhail to remove unused ballots from the IEC’s headquarters in Kabul on polling day.
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