Alice Wells, US State Department deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, said that Afghans who risked their lives to cast their ballots and to protect the voters expect and deserve the process to be transparent.
Speaking at the US Embassy in Kabul, Wells underscored the efforts of Afghan electoral commissions to independently lead the electoral process “without pressure or interference.”
She also welcomed the Independent Election Commission’s reaffirmation of its policy to only count biometric votes.
Citing concern about potential fraud, the diplomat urged the Afghan electoral commissions to increase trust by clearly communicating information on questions of concern in a timely manner, including information on the exact number of polling centers that were open or closed and the reason for the closures, the status of missing and malfunctioning biometric verification machines, procedures for recounts and auditing electoral results.
“We welcome the IEC’s intention to conduct all necessary anti-fraud measures before it announces the preliminary results,” Wells said. “An accurate result is more important than a rushed one.”
On corruption, Wells said that as a donor conference is expected to be held next year, it is important for donors see the Afghan government taking “practical and real steps” to address corruption and increase accountability, Wells said.
On peace, Wells said that while US reviews its next steps in support of political settlement to the conflict, Afghan men and women from all sectors of society – the government, private enterprise, tribal leaders and activists – should continue to work toward a consensus on peace to ensure that they are able to take advantage of opportunities to advance a negotiated political settlement.