Afghans Go to Polls in Postponed Elections in Kandahar

Suicide bomber targets electoral officials in Kabul

According to police, a suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives close to the gate of the offices.

"The explosion happened 20 meters from the vehicles of the IEC employees", Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid told AFP news agency.

Parliamentary elections were held last Saturday throughout Afghanistan, with the exception of Ghazni province, three years later than scheduled and with about 4 million citizens casting ballots, some 45 per cent of the population.

The absence of judges, voters list, biometric terminals (which are taxed at the last minute) or staff knowing the handle had resulted in long queues across the country and postponed the vote for a day in more than 250 offices.

Figures by the electoral body indicate that around four million people risked voting in the parliamentary elections, which the Taliban militant group had vowed to attack.

Election officials could not immediately determine the turnout from the 567,000 registered voters in Kandahar.

More news: Netanyahu's Secret Trip to Oman

On Saturday voters in Kandahar - the southern birthplace of the Taliban and a province notorious for ballot stuffing - went to the polls.

Afghanistan's first parliamentary elections since 2010 were held against a backdrop of near-daily attacks by the Taleban, who have seized almost half the country and have refused offers to negotiate with the government. It had also cautioned teachers not to use schools as voting booths.

The war toppled the militant group; however, some 17 years on, the Taliban are still active in two-thirds of the country and involved in widespread militancy, killing thousands of civilians as well as Afghan and USA forces despite the presence of US-led foreign troops.

The election is seen as a dry run for next year's presidential vote and an important milestone in advance of a United Nations meeting in Geneva in November where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on "democratic processes".

Preliminary results of the elections held on October 20-21 are expected to be announced on November 10, while final results are due by December 20.

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