Elections to be held in peaceful atmosphere in Helmand: Official assures

 An Afghan senior government official in southern province of Helmand on Wednesday said tight security measures had been put in place around polling stations for the April 5 presidential and provincial elections.

Helmand deputy governor, Ahmad Massoud Bakhtwar, told a joint meeting at Shorabak military camp, in the Gereshk district of the province, that the Afghan security forces had used all their ability to provide satisfactory security environment for Helmand dwellers to obtain the voter registration cards in the province and the security forces were poised to keep security for upcoming elections across the province.

He said more than 1, 20000 individuals in 11 districts of the province had been issued voter registration cards since the registration drive began in late May. The official assured Helmand residents the elections would be held in peaceful environment.

The meeting was also attended by ISAF and Afghan 215 army corps commander, Helmand police chief, the provincial spy agency chief and some other government authorities.

Separately, Afghan army and police officials said Afghan forces would employ all resources at their disposal to maintain security for polling sites in all areas. They said a searching operation had recently been wrapped up across the province to address security threats.

Afghan presidential and provincial polls are slated for April 5.

Separately, the British Task Force Helmand commander, Army Brig. Gen. James Woodham, on Wednesday handed over the helm of UK Task Force in Helmand to a new commander.

A transfer ceremony in this regard at ISAF headquarters at Camp Leatherneck in the Gereshk district of the province was attended by foreign military personnel and Afghan officials.