Voting underway for parliamentary elections in Kandahar province

Glen Norman
October 29, 2018

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

It was not clear how many people were present at the time of the attack around the election commission's sprawling compound located near an arterial road in the city.

Residents braved threats of militant attacks to queue on Saturday outside more than 170 polling stations across the province amid heavy security.

In view of the challenging security environment in which the elections took place, the United Nations commends the many Afghans for their participation and recognizes the expectations citizens now have that the electoral authorities will ensure that their votes are counted and that any fraudulent ballots will be weeded out.

Organisers were under pressure to avoid last weekend's debacle that forced the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to extend the nationwide ballot by a day.

The attacker was "identified and gunned down by police before reaching his target", Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid told reporters.

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.

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 U.S. forces despite the presence of US-led foreign troops. It had also cautioned teachers not to use schools as voting booths.

On election day, the Taliban had carried out around 200 attacks, which left at least 36 dead and 126 wounded. A balance sheet four times higher than that reported by afghan authorities, who are believed to have deliberately under-estimated the violence so as not to frighten the voters.

Voting in parliamentary elections has been completed in 33 of the country's 34 provinces.

Ibrahimi said 111 candidates were vying for 11 seats in Parliament from southern Kandahar in Afghanistan's 249-seat chamber.

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