by Abdul Haleem
KABUL, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- As Afghanistan's upcoming presidential election is getting closer, both the election commission and the citizens are increasingly concerned that security challenges may disrupt the polling process.
"Security problems have remained the main challenge before holding elections and it is a matter of concerns for the Independent Election Commission(IEC)," spokesman for the election body, Noor Mohammad Noor told Xinhua recently.
He also confirmed that the election commission had failed to open registration centers for voters in four districts of Bagran, Disho, Kakar and Alasai in the country's more than 400 districts because of security problems.
Afghanistan's third presidential and provincial councils' elections are slated for April 5, 2014 in the post-Taliban nation amid Taliban threats to disrupt the process.
Meanwhile, Noon Mohammad Noor, the IEC spokesman, admitted that security problems are a challenge for the historic polls scheduled for April next year.
Some 17.5 million Afghans, 4.2 million of them in 2013, have registered to use their franchise in the coming elections, election officials said.
Meanwhile, spokesman for Afghanistan Interior Ministry Sediq Sediqi has brushed aside all security concerns, saying security personnel are ready to ensure security for the elections.
Earlier he told a press conference that all necessary preparations have been taken to hold elections in a peaceful environment.
Only 200 polling centers out of 7,000 poling centers across the country are facing security threats, election officials said.
However, Interior Ministry spokesman said recently that ensuring security for the coming elections remains on top of the Ministry's agenda to ensure satisfactory voter turnout on the voting day.
Amid security concerns and Taliban threats, some members of Mushrano Jirga or members of Upper House of Afghan parliament have suggested delaying elections, citing security problems.
Senator Khan Mohammad Khagai told the upper house last week that due to security problems the elections must be delayed until a peaceful environment to have transparent elections is available.
Taliban militants, who have been fighting the government to regain power, have termed elections as "a waste of time," have reportedly killed 11 people over carrying voting cards or national ID cards in Gero district of Ghazni province over the past year.
There are widespread doubts about the government's ability to guarantee security. People argue that with the support of the NATO- backed forces, the administration has failed to ensure complete security across the country over the past 12 years, is it realistic to expect the national security forces to accomplish such an arduous mission within the next three months?