KABUL (SW) – The U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday announced Washington would provide $29 million for the forthcoming presidential polls.
According to an official statement, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass welcomed the finalization of the budget for polls. He added this enables the U.S. to provide up to $29 million to support operations. “Conduct of the elections will also be funding independently Afghan domestic observers efforts so people have confidence in the way the election is conducted and in the results”, he said, adding that at the same time, although the budget is an important step, there are many more steps the commission and the relevant ministries need to take to ensure elections occur when scheduled.
“We need to see the additional staff hired and trained by the commission. We need to see the voters lists published. We all need to see finalization of procurement and training on the biometric verification devices”, he added. The U.S. Ambassador said all of that will be essential to conduct the election. He hoped all of the candidates would respect the Afghan law that prohibits government officials or people with access to government officials from using government resources to benefit their campaign.
“And, we expect all the candidates, whether they are currently in government positions or not, to refrain from trying to use government resources, whether that's money, whether that's the power to appoint people, whether that's simply going about their business in ways that is intended to benefit their campaign. We expect to see everyone respect Afghan law, and we expect that because the Afghan people expect that”, he added.
Ambassador Bass stressed the electoral commission should be communicating with the public about its activities so the Afghan public understand the preparations that are underway and that progress is being made to prepare for these important elections.