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.
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