UN mission in Afghanistan welcomes handing up of weapons by electoral candidates

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has welcomed the news that several candidates are handing up their weapons so as to qualify under electoral law to run for seats in the lower house of the National Assembly, called the Wolesi Jirga, and in the provincial councils.

The electoral law forbids people who command or belong to armed groups from running for public office because the majority of Afghans feel that broad disarmament is needed to ensure the fairness of the election and to prevent a return to violence in the country, UNAMA said yesterday.

"UNAMA therefore joins the government and the electoral authorities in appealing to all those candidates that are still in possession of weapons and ammunition to cooperate with the security agencies by voluntarily handing over their weapons at the designated collection point in each province," it said.

The Government of Afghanistan launched the new phase in the overall disarmament campaign on Sunday of last week, with the support of the UN and international forces, UNAMA said.