|Fazal Ahmad Manawi (2nd L), the chief of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC), speaks during a joint press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 31, 2012. Fazal Ahmad Manawi officially announces on Wednesday that the presidential elections will be held on April 5, 2014. (Xinhua/STR)
KABUL, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Fazal Ahmad Manawi, the chief of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC), officially announced on Wednesday that the presidential elections will be held on April 5, 2014, months ahead of the final pull out of the foreign troops from the country.
"The third Afghan presidential elections since the downfall of the Taliban regime in late 2001 will be held on April 5, 2014," Manawi told a press conference.
"Considering the security and logistic challenges in the country and drawing instrumental lessons from the past elections, the IEC is strongly committed to ensuring transparency and integrity of the electoral process and will work extensively with the relevant stakeholders to complete and announce the list of polling stations as well as the operational plan for the upcoming elections by the first quarter of 2013," he added.
The announcement came as the war-weary Afghans doubted whether Afghan security forces will be ready to provide security for the elections as the NATO-led coalition forces are scheduled to withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.
Taliban-led insurgency, extremism, tribalism along with high rate of unemployment and poverty are seen as the destabilizing factors contributing to insecurity in the conflict-ridden country which will need around 230 million U.S. dollars for the upcoming elections, according to Afghan officials.
However, Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier this month assured the nation that the elections will be held on time in 2014 before his tenure expires.
Karzai has said that he will not seek reelection as the constitution barred him from a third term.
Karzai took power as the first elected president of Afghanistan in December 2004 for a five-year term and he was reelected as president in 2009.