The illicit trade of voter cards has already begun as the presidential election looms, sparking concerns regarding the transparency of the elections which is scheduled to be organized earlier in April next year.
President Hamid Karzai who is constitutionally barred from seeking a third-five year term will be replaced by the winning candidate.
At least 27 candidates have nominated for the 2014 presidential elections, including president Hamid Karzai’s elder brother Qayum Karazai, former foreign minister Zalmay Rassoul, another former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and a former Islamist warlord turned parliamentarian, Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf.
The United States of America and other international allies of Afghanistan are keen that the political transition should take place through a democratic process, and organization of a free and fair election.
However, the voter card trade is already starting to worry Western diplomats instructed to monitor the election for their governments
The Reuters News Agency which has interviewed an Afghan man in eastern Afghanistan, has learnt that the voter cards are traded for about $5.
Sayed Gul, who used to used to repair cars in Marco, a small town in eastern Afghanistan, has left his job and has joined a hriving industry selling the outcome of next year’s presidential elections.
Gul told Reuters that he was able to buy voter cards for 200 Pakistani rupees ($1.89) each from villagers and sell them on for 500 rupees ($4.73) to campaign managers, who can use them in connivance with poll officials to cast seemingly legitimate votes.
The voter cards are also being used as currency in parts of the northern Afghanistan, and are being exchanged for bags of rice and potatos, local officials told Reuters.
Officials in Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has confirmed that the voter cards are traded in parts of the country. “We have heard of this and it is major concern for us. But we have certain measures in place to scrutinize the fraud,” IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.