14 Killed on Afghanistan Election Day
VoA News: Afghans voted for a new parliament Saturday, despite rocket and bomb attacks during elections seen as a key test of the government’s fight against the Taliban and corruption.
The interior minister said at least 11 civilians and three police officers were killed in election-related violence scattered throughout the country.
The U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Staffan De Mistura, described the election day as “mixed.” He said it is too early to tell how the security situation may have affected voter turnout. However, observers say turnout appeared to have been light.
Afghan Election Commission official Fazel Ahmad Manawi said 92 percent of some 5,800 polling stations opened.
The Election Complaints Commission said it received reports of alleged irregularities, including the delayed opening of polling centers, misuse of voter registration cards, ineligible people voting, a shortage of ballots, and the poor quality of indelible ink used to prevent multiple voting.
More than 2,500 candidates were vying for 249 seats in the lower house of parliament, or wolesi jirga.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commended the Afghan people for voting despite security challenges. He urged all parties to use appropriate legal channels to file election complaints.
Preliminary election results are not expected until next month, with final results likely announced at the end of October after any complaints of fraud or misconduct are resolved.
Close to 300,000 Afghan troops and police, backed by international forces, provided security during Saturday’s vote. NATO says one of its soldiers was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan Saturday.
The governor of southern Kandahar province said he survived a bomb attack during the elections. And the Taliban claimed that insurgents had attacked more than 100 polling centers across the country.
NATO said an airstrike killed the Taliban shadow governor of the Shigal district in Kunar province Saturday. The alliance says insurgent Haji Mohammad was trying to attack a polling site when he was killed.