Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Kandahar goes to the polls in Afghan parliamentary vote delayed by violence

Suicide bomber targets electoral officials in Kabul Afghans risk their lives to vote in delayed Kandahar poll
Lisa Bryan | 29 October, 2018, 15:32

Major roads throughout southern Kandahar were closed almost 24 hours before polls opened to stop vehicle-born explosive devices from entering the province, said provincial governor's spokesman Aziz Ahmed Azizi.

Both groups have warned Afghans against participating in the elections and have used violence to try to prevent people from going to the polls.

The IEC is scheduled to release preliminary results on November 10.

"People are frustrated and waiting for hours in long lines", said Gulalai who voted at a polling station set up in a Kandahar city school.

These legislative elections are the first in Afghanistan to make use of biometric devices at voting centers.

The IEC statistics show that 111 candidates from Kandahar will compete for 11 seats in the Wolesi Jirga, the Afghan parliament, of which three seats are only for women.

The IEC previously said votes not biometrically verified would be rejected.

Washington's top commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller had earlier escaped unhurt in an attacked by the Taliban.


"The suicide bomber blew himself up next to a auto of an IEC staff member that was parked near a police checkpoint", said an IEC official.

A bomb attack hits near the head office of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) in the capital, Kabul, leaving multiple casualties.

Scores of attacks marred the first day of the election on October 20, with an AFP tally showing almost 300 civilians and security forces were killed or wounded in poll-related violence.

Local authorities mobilized 6,000 additional police officers to ensure the safety of voters and secure polling stations. The number of people who were present at the site at the time of the attack is not clear.

The latest assault by the Taliban comes amid a flurry of US-led diplomatic activity to convince the group to negotiate an end to the 17-year war.

The eastern province of Ghazni has also seen its polls delayed due to security and logistical issues.

Independent Election Commission deputy spokesman Aziz Ibrahimi said voting was to start at 7 am.

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