TALOQAN (Pajhwok): Residents of northeastern Takhar province on Wednesday said illegal gunmen were increasingly spotted travelling in vehicles laced with tinted glasses since the beginning of the electioneering.
The 20-day election campaign was launched around a week back. More than 60 men and 12 women are contesting the Oct 20 Wolesi Jirga polls on nine seats allocated to Takhar province.
But residents complained an increasing number of illegal gunmen associated with candidates were seen moving in the provincial capital, Taloqan.
Civil society activist Mohammad Jalal Sana told Pajhwok that the number of illegal armed men had increased in the city during the electioneering period. He said another issue created by candidates was pasting their campaign posters everywhere.
Merajddin, another resident of Taloqan, said armed supporters of candidates used to march on the city roads in vehicles using black films and they played music loud.
He said: “If they (candidates) can create such problems for people before reaching power, what they would do if they are elected.”
A number of other residents expressed similar views about the issue.
A Wolesi Jirga hopeful Razem Arash Howash told Pajhwok that illegal gunmen accompanied some candidates during their campaigning.
She did not name any candidate, but said such figures had connections in the government and could use their links to rig election in their favor.
However, Mohammad Alam Saee, another candidate, said some candidates kept bodyguards for their own safety.
“I have five bodyguards for my own security, I do not go out most of the time and instead people visit me at my home so the problem is not as bigger as people say.”
Provincial acting police chief Nizamuddin Ghori also confirmed the issue and said police had taken measures to protect candidates who needed no private guards.
He asked candidates to address the issue themselves or police would come into action.


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