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Voting in Afghanistan’s parliamentary election extended amid delays

By Farhad Naibkhel -KABUL: Voting for Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections officially began on Saturday at 7am across the country amid extremely volatile security situation, in what was seen as a gloomy day for the broken nation of Afghanistan.

The voting counter-intuitively didn’t happen as anticipated mostly because of long delays in opening polling stations as well as malfunctioning of biometric voting system, a setback that prompted the election commission to extend polls for one more day to enable hundreds of thousands of ‘left behind’ voters to vote.

President Ghani along with Chief of Election Commission (IEC) and some other officials, while using his right to vote, said that today unbelief changed to believe and doubt to certainty.

Ministry of Interior Deputy Akhtar Mohammad Ibrahimi in a joint press conference at around 8:20pm said that 193 attacks and threats took place during poling process all over the country from 7:00am-6:00pm today.

He said that the attacks included one suicide bombing in Kabul, five direct attacks over polling sites, 71 lights and heavy weapons firing on polling sites, 12 roadside and sonic mine explosions, 71 light and heavy weapons firing on security check points, four explosion over security forces, two ambush and some other threats been carried out by Taliban fighters across the country during polling process today.

He said that during aforementioned attacks 36 people including 27 civilians, eight police and one army were killed.

He said that 126 people including 100 civilians, 19 police, five armies, one intelligence forces and one IEC personal were wounded during attacks.

36 people including security forces killed and 126 others wounded in today’s terrorist attacks in the country.

He said that 31 Taliban were killed, eight wounded by Afghan forces and 18 others were arrested by Afghan forces during operations.

Pointing to running of polling process tomorrow in some sites, which remained close today, he said that security forces have preparation to reinforce security tomorrow.

He insisted that security will be on high alert till the entire electoral boxes transfer from district to provinces and from provinces to the center.

He said that based on technical view the most successful management and preparation have been adopted for this process.

Praising the security forces for reinforcement of security for election, he said that over 8 million people were registered and today they will vote to make their future

President Ghani asked all Afghans to act upon their rights and vote today.

He said that we pledges to run the presidential election in cooperation with the IEC on time to the people make their decision for their future.

IEC Chief Abdul Badi Sayad said that today voting process started all over the country to the people make their future.

He said called on all IEC staffs, security organs and officials to keep impartiality and don’t let anyone to do fraud.

He asked the IEC staffs to inform the IEC central office if faced any interference in the process in order to act against him /her.

Later today the IEC Chief Abdul Badi Sayad out of 4901 polling stations 4530 stations were active only 371 centers were remained inactive due to technical issues in the country.

He said that voting continued till 6:00 pm in those centers, where voting process started late, even in some sites where people were at line voting process extend from 6:00pm

He said that election will be run in those sites tomorrow, which remained closed due to technical issues till 1:00pm today.

there was some shortages in election, but at whole it was a successful process.

He said that some technical challenges, absence of IEC staffs and interference of powerful figures in some sites were the issues ahead of election.

He said that Taliban threat had created also challenges in some sites.

He said that also if some sites not opened till 1:00pm today the election of these sites will be run tomorrow in order to people have the chance to use their vote.

Regarding suicide attack Kabul Police Spokesman Basir Mujahid said that a suicide late evening today struggled to storm a polling site in 17th PD in Kabul city, who in first security check point identified by police, but blew himself up.

He said that in this incident 15 people killed and wounded.

He said that it is early to say how many killed and how many wounded.

Meanwhile Ministry of Public Health Press Department In charge Dr. Zeer said that five killed and 27 wounded people shifted to hospital from the suicide bombing attack to hospital in Kabul.

He said that this is initial report; figures of casualty might be changed.

Dr. Zeer also said that in separate incident till today afternoon three killed and 78 wounded people all civilians reported to the ministry from hospitals in Kabul city from terrorist incidents.

He said that this is not the final figure; we are engaged in collection of reports from hospitals.

Provencal Council head of Kunduz Yosuf Ayobi said that 30-40 rockets fired over Emam Sahib, Ali Abad and Chahardara districts of Kunduz today by Taliban.

He said that clashes were also going on between Taliban and security forces in Aliabad district today.

According to report over two people were killed and over 30 others wounded in different district of Kunduz province.

At the same time Dejan Panic, Program coordinator of emergency hospital said that so till know we received 48 casualties, 48 people, among them 33 admitted here in hospital, and 14 treated as out patients and one came more already dead.”

These casualties were received from various parts of Kabul, Tagab district of Kapisa, eastern Logar province and southern Ghazni province.

Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement sent in telegram said that the  Polling stations all over the country were under attack by Taliban fighters, countrymen must refrain from taking part in this process.

He said the election process is failed, till now (Noon) 166 attacks were carried out and the process was disrupted.

In these attacks tens of security forces were killed and injured, he claimed.

He said that tens of election sites were either destroyed or were not opened.

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