Country or territory: Afghanistan
Affected area(s): Kabul
Incident: Political protests
Incident description: The Stability and Convergence election campaign, led by Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, has called for protests, Nov. 29, to condemn alleged fraud in the recent elections. Organizers criticized the decision of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to recount votes and warned of further protests until the exclusion of 300,000 disputed votes they claim will aid President Ashraf Ghani to retain power. Turnout will vary with location; the largest participation will be in Kabul city. Demonstrators in Kabul plan to march to the Pashtunistan Square and rally near the Presidential Palace; security forces have requested activists to remain in Chaman-e-Huzori, the designated protest venue. Hundreds to thousands of supporters may join the action at each venue, though leaders have not specified details of protests.
Security forces will almost certainly deploy to monitor all large gatherings and guard sensitive sites such as government buildings. Protesters are likely to stage street marches, sit-ins, and rallies; popular demonstration venues include IEC offices, government buildings, major traffic intersections, public squares, and religious sites. Transport disruptions such as roadblocks, route diversions, and unannounced road closures are probable near rally venues. If the action is prolonged, shipping disruptions cannot be ruled out. Activists could engage in arson attacks and vandalism, prompting business disruptions; clashes are possible if rival groups organize counter-protests or police forcibly disperse crowds.
Analysis: The IEC is yet to announce the results of the Sept. 28 Afghan presidential election held amid concerns of political and militant violence. Alleged electoral fraud and other irregularities have sparked violent protests during previous elections in Afghanistan. Further demonstrations over perceived corruption in the election process causing localized, periodic violence are likely to continue in the medium term.
Advice: Strictly avoid all protests due to possible violence. Immediately depart the area if an unruly mob forms nearby. Confirm business appointments, road status, and transport reservations before travelling, especially in Kabul. Carry proper identification documents to present at security checks; allow additional travel time near all rallies. Do not try to navigate any roadblocks as protesters may attack vehicles. Monitor trusted local media for updates on protests; plan for possible business and shipping disruptions. Heed all advice of security personnel.