UN envoy condemns killing of female electoral worker in Afghanistan

A woman was killed this morning when a vehicle carrying four electoral workers and their driver was hit by an explosive device about 50 kilometres south of the city of Jalalabad in Nangarhar Province.The driver, who was seriously injured, is being treated at a hospital in the capital Kabul, while the other three electoral workers – who were taking part in the country’s voter registration campaign – were treated at a Jalalabad hospital and later discharged.Jean Arnault, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, issued a statement expressing his sorrow to the family and friends of the late electoral worker and said he hoped the injured would recover quickly.Mr. Arnault also praised the courage of the electoral workers, who have been registering voters around the country since December despite a series of deadly attacks. Many of the attacks have focused on women, whose rights were severely curtailed under the ousted Taliban regime.Today’s killing occurred less than two weeks after two female electoral workers died when an explosion hit their mini-bus. That attack also took place near Jalalabad.More than six million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan’s presidential and parliamentary elections, and women now comprise nearly four out of every 10 voters, the UN Assistance Mission to the country (UNAMA) announced.Briefing reporters in Kabul, UNAMA spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said provisional figures indicated that 6,182,051 people had registered as of last night. This includes more than 2.4 million women, or 38.8 per cent of the overall total.The proportion of women has increased steadily since registration began, when it was confined to the country’s eight biggest cities. The central highlands region continues to have the largest percentage of female registrants – 53 per cent. Women, however, make up just 20 per cent of registrants in the south. read more