Afghans vote in delayed Kandahar poll

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Afghanistan held parliamentary elections in the southern province of Kandahar on Saturday, a week late because of the assassination of the provincial police chief by the Taliban.

One police officer was killed when the militant, who was on foot, blew up near a vehicle carrying IEC employees as it entered the base at 8:00 am (0330 GMT). A decision is pending by electoral authorities on when circumstances will permit voting to take place in the remaining province of Ghazni.

Problems with untested biometric verification devices, missing or incomplete voter rolls and absent election workers following Taliban threats to attack the ballot forced Afghans to wait hours outside polling stations, many of which opened late or not at all.

During two days of voting last weekend, insurgents launched some 250 attacks across the country, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 100, the interior ministry said.

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

Kandahar Governor Zalmay Wesa was seriously hurt in the October 18 attack that killed provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and also targeted the commander of USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, who escaped unhurt.

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In recent months, there have been dozens of attacks on people involved in the election process, including candidates and voters.

The ballot, which the Taliban had vowed to attack, was marred by deadly violence, with hundreds killed or wounded in scores of attacks. Ibrahimi said 111 candidates were vying for 11 seats in Parliament from southern Kandahar in Afghanistan's 249-seat chamber.

This year's elections have become the first parliamentary election in Afghanistan since 2010.

Islamic State claimed responsibility on Monday for a blast near the election commission in Afghan capital Kabul, according to a statement on the group's Amaq news agency.

Preliminary results of nationwide voting are not expected before mid-November.

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