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Sunday 16 December 2018

Afghan vote enters second day after attacks and technical issues

The results of the polling will not be released before mid-November and final results will not be out until December.

Women cast their votes in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan (Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP)
Women cast their votes in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan (Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP)

By Rahim Faiez, Associated Press

Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections have entered a second day after delays caused by violence and technical issues.

Independent Elections Commission chairman Abdul Badi Sayat said more than three million people out of 8.8 million registered voters cast their ballots on Saturday.

The biggest turnout was in Kabul and the lowest in southern Uruzgan province.

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A woman casts her vote in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangarhar province (Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP)

Polling on Sunday continues in 401 voting centres, including 45 in Kabul.

The results of the polling will not be released before mid-November and final results will not be out until December.

The first parliamentary elections since 2010 are being held against a backdrop of near-daily attacks by the Taliban, who have seized nearly half the country and have repeatedly refused offers to negotiate with the Kabul government.

The US-backed government is rife with corruption and many Afghans have said they do not expect the elections to be fair.

Officials at polling stations struggled with voter registration and a new biometric system that was aimed at stemming fraud but instead created enormous confusion because many of those trained on the system did not show up for work.

The biometric machines arrived just a month before polls and there was no time to do field testing.

The UN mission in Afghanistan praised those who had made an effort to vote despite the technical issues, many of whom waited in long lines for hours as polling stations remained open late.

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Afghan men line up to cast their votes in Helmand province (Abdul Khaliq/AP)

“Those eligible voters who were not able to cast their vote, due to technical issues, deserve the right to vote,” it said in a statement.

The Taliban had vowed to attack the election, and on the first day of polling at least 36 people were killed in nearly 200 attacks, including 27 civilians, according to deputy interior minister Akhtar Mohammed Ibrahimi.

He said security forces killed 31 insurgents in gun battles.

On Sunday, a roadside bomb in eastern Nangarhar province struck a vehicle filled with civilians, killing 11 people, including six children, according to Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

The Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate are both active in Nangarhar.

Afghan civilians are often killed by roadside bombs intended to target security forces.

Press Association

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