Afghanistan: Kandahar Votes After Week-long Delay Due to Violence

Suicide bomber targets electoral officials in Kabul

The Taliban-claimed blast happened as the bus entered a police compound in the Wardak provincial capital of Maidan Shar, provincial police spokesman Hekmatullah Durrani told AFP.

An Afghan voter casts his ballot at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Kandahar city, capital of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, on October 27, 2018.

Voting in Kandahar was delayed after police chief Abdul Razeq, one of Afghanistan's most feared anti-Taliban commanders, was killed along with the provincial intelligence chief two days before the election by a member of the governor's bodyguard.

More than 4 million people cast their ballots elsewhere last weekend despite violence and logistical issues, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said.

Independent Election Commission deputy spokesman Aziz Ibrahimi said voting was to start at 7 a.m. Saturday at 1,113 polling stations throughout Kandahar, but early reports said scores of polling stations opened late because workers did not show up or election materials were not readily available.

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

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Parliamentary election has also been postponed for an indefinite period in Kandahar's neighboring Ghazni province. But hiccups with biometric devices and voter lists persisted.

IEC figures show roughly 4.2 million out of the almost nine million people registered to vote actually cast a ballot.

The policeman, who was martyred, was injured in the attack and later died of his wounds.

The bodyguard opened fire at a group of officials after a meeting with General Scott Miller, the commander of the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan. More than 2,500 candidates are competing for the 250 seats in the lower house.

These elections have been seen as a test of the state of Afghanistan's fragile democracy as well as a trial ahead of the presidential elections set to take place in April 2019.

Unofficial election results of the parliamentary balloting are not expected before mid-November and official results sometime in December.

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