Second Day of Afghan Parliamentary Elections Underway

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Source: AP

The Afghan parliamentary elections have been extended due to terrorist attacks and delayed opening and early closing of polling centers across Afghanistan. More than 370 polling centers are expected to be open today for voters who were not able to vote yesterday.

There were 192 attacks and incidents across Afghanistan, killing 27 civilians and Afghan forces, according to the Ministry of Interior.

It is estimated that more than 75 people were killed and 470 people were injured by terrorist attacks, according to a tally done by the New York Times.

The Taliban had released a statement saying they were going to attack polling centers and asked Afghans to boycott the “bogus” democratic process.  The Afghan government had more than 54,000 security forces and volunteers on duty to safeguard the 5,100 polling centers.

On Saturday afternoon a suicide bomber tried to enter a polling station in Kabul police district 17. He was identified by security forces but detonated his explosives. Twelve people were killed on the scene and more than 90 people were wounded.

In Kunduz, there were attacks on several voting centers. Six people were reported killed and over 100 people were wounded. An Independent Election Commission (IEC) employee was also killed and seven others are missing after the Taliban attacked the polling center, according to regional IEC Director Mohammad Rasoul Omar.

Mr. Omar said the Taliban also destroyed ballot boxes.

Eight explosions were recorded in Nangarhar province, where two people were killed and five were wounded according to the provincial governor’s spokesman.

Besides major security issues, Afghans were presented with many hurdles to vote once at the polling centers. Voter registrations lists were not complete. There were reports of misspelled names or names of registered voters were not included in the final list that the IEC staff was using. New lists are to be printed for the polling centers that will be open.

There were significant delays caused by the new biometric system. In some voting centers with high voter turnout, each vote took between 10 to 15 minutes to process. The delay was caused by IEC employees not being familiar with the biometric system.  

The same problem occurred in Badakhshan province. There were significant delays because IEC employees did not receive enough training to use the biometric devices correctly.

There was fraud reported from numerous province. In Paktia province, ballots were tampered with by “local strong men” according to a local source. Allegedly, there are ballot boxes missing in Paktia. There are also reports of ballot tampering in Nangrahar province.  

The United Nations Mission to Afghanistan said “the Afghan electoral authorities have put in place numerous anti-fraud measures” and noted “the presence of up to 400,000 observers and candidates’ agents, as well as political parties monitors, is serving to ensure the transparency of the elections.”

Preliminary results of the election will be available on November 10.  

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