Kandahar votes after week-long delay
Kabul : Polling stations in Afghanistan's Kandahar province opened on Saturday, one week after the rest of the country cast ballots in parliamentary elections, owing to a delay due to violence.
Voting in the region was pushed back due to a Taliban attack on the eve of the elections, killing provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, intelligence chief Mumin Hussainkhil and a journalist.
Voting centres opened at 7 a.m. in Kandahar on Saturday and were scheduled to remain open till 4 p.m., Election Commission spokesperson Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi was cited as saying by Efe news.
Some 173 polling stations opened throughout the region, although voting was suspended in the districts of Maruf and Nesh owing to a lack of security.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said the security situation in Kandahar was good and no threats had been identified.
Local authorities mobilized 6,000 additional police officers to ensure the safety of voters and secure polling stations.
Parliamentary elections were held last Saturday throughout Afghanistan, with the exception of Ghazni province, three years later than scheduled and with about 4 million citizens casting ballots, some 45 per cent of the population.
The elections were initially planned to take place in 2015, but were delayed due to security challenges and political and economic instability.
These elections have been seen as a test of the state of Afghanistan's fragile democracy as well as a trial ahead of the presidential elections set to take place in April 2019.