Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced on Sunday, December 22, that preliminary results show incumbent President Ashraf Ghani winning a majority of votes in the September 28 presidential elections. Initial results were delayed after allegations of fraud immediately following the election. Officials warn that results are subject to change upon further review. Should final results show that Ghani did not win a majority, a second round of elections will be held.
Violent protests are possible over the near term in response to the announcement.
The September 28 elections were Afghanistan's fourth presidential elections since a US-led coalition removed the Taliban from power in 2001.
In a statement issued in August, the Taliban had pledged to disrupt polls, denouncing the electoral process as a sham and calling militants to block roads across the country. 85 people were killed and 370 more were wounded as a result of election-day violence. Protests broke out when both candidates, President Ashraf Ghani and opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah, claimed victory before results were tallied.
Individuals in Afghanistan are advised to monitor the situation, avoid any public demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.