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

Suicide bomber targets electoral officials in Kabul

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

"The suicide bomber blew himself up next to a vehicle of an IEC [Independent Election Commission] staff member that was parked near a police checkpoint", said an election body official. The U.S. -backed government is rife with corruption and many Afghans have said they do not expect the elections to be fair.

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

"We were anxious about attacks but our security arrangement worked to prevent disruption of the vote", Zia Durani, a spokesman for Kandahar police.

Voting in the 32 provinces also saw a high turnout but problems with new biometric verification devices, missing or incomplete voter rolls and absent election workers following Taliban threats meant many voters waited for hours.

Ibrahimi said 111 candidates were vying for 11 seats in Parliament from southern Kandahar in Afghanistan's 249-seat chamber. They are also high for the US, which is still seeking an exit strategy after 17 years of war that has cost more than $900 billion and claimed the lives of more than 2,400 USA service personnel. Thirty-two of Afghanistan's 34 provinces voted over two days on Oct 20-21. At least six people were wounded in the blast, Afghan officials said.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

But some polling centers had still not opened by 8am, while dozens of people lined up outside.

"Most of the complaints are against the voter's registration lists, the second complaints were against the observers - that some observers were encouraging people to vote for their favorite candidates - but the main challenge was the late opening of the stations and the lack of materials", said Karimullah Stanikzai head of IECC regional office.

The ballot was also marred by lengthy delays at polling stations and allegations of fraud. Security is so inadequate in central Ghazni province that voting had to be delayed until next year.

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