Australia ready to support Afghans during historic elections

Afghan and Aus­tralian forces in Uruz­gan Province are putting the fin­ish­ing touch­es on prepa­ra­tions for this weekend’s his­toric low­er house or “Wole­si Jir­ga” elec­tions, the first par­lia­men­tary elec­tions run by the Afghans.

The Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of Australia’s 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force (MTF‑1), Lieu­tenant Colonel Mark Jen­nings, said there had been a lot of work done behind the scenes in Uruz­gan in prepa­ra­tion for the elec­tions. The elec­tion is to be held on the 18th of September. 

“All the rel­e­vant pieces are in place now for the elec­tions with the Inde­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion and Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces (ANSF) all hap­py with their prepa­ra­tions,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said. 

In con­tin­u­ing ISAF’s com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing progress in Afghanistan, Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said secu­ri­ty arrange­ments in Uruz­gan for the elec­tions would be pro­vid­ed by the ANSF, using estab­lished plans in con­sul­ta­tion with the Inde­pen­dent Elec­toral Commission. 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said all arrange­ments had been worked through the new Oper­a­tional Coor­di­na­tion Cen­tre-Provin­cial (OCC‑P) run by Afghans at Tarin Kot. 

“The Afghan Inde­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion has worked strong­ly with the Afghanistan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces, both the Army and police, through the OCC‑P to imple­ment a sound over­all strat­e­gy for the secu­ri­ty and the con­duct of the elec­tions in Uruz­gan Province,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said. 

The Aus­tralian and ISAF involve­ment in the Afghan-led elec­tion process was in a sup­port­ing role to the ANSF

“The need for Aus­tralian sol­diers to become involved would only even­tu­ate in the case of a threat or inci­dent exceed­ing the capac­i­ty of the local author­i­ties,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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