News / USA

Afghan Polls Close, Scattered Violence Kills 14

Sean Maroney

Afghans cast their ballots for a new parliament Saturday, despite rocket and bomb attacks during elections seen as a key test of the government's fight against the Taliban and corruption.   As the polls officially closed, the Interior Ministry said at least 11 civilians and three policeman were killed and dozens more injured.

Afghans across much of the country voted Saturday in the face of Taliban threats and scattered acts of violence that marred - but did not seriously disrupt - the parliamentary election.

United Nations Special Envoy to Afghanistan Staffan de Mistura visited polling stations in the capital Kabul as part of the international contingent of observers making sure the election is free and fair.

He told reporters a number of procedures are in place to combat voter fraud, including identifying voters, using special ink to mark those who have voted and keeping track of all ballot boxes. "Today is a crucial day.  Security is a concern and fraud is a concern.  That is why we are not here to observe; we are here to encourage that those procedures continue," he said.

Andy Campbell is the country director for the National Democratic Institute, which is helping to monitor the vote.  Campbell spoke to VOA at a polling station in Kabul. "We've had reports come in from around the country that in some places it has worked well and in other places it has not.  That is to be expected.  The largest exercise that a country undertakes in peace time is an election or a census, and we're doing it in an active insurgency environment.  But, procedures are generally being followed," he said.

Campbell is no stranger to elections in Afghanistan; Saturday's vote is his fourth in the country.  He says generally, each election has gotten better in terms of fighting voter fraud.  However, he did call last year's fraud-marred presidential election an "anomaly."

Despite being in the relatively secure capital, Campbell was conspicuous with his large bulletproof vest under his suit jacket and plainclothes security team keeping watch.

The Taliban has vowed to disrupt the election and has urged voters to stay home.  Insurgents have claimed responsibility for abducting a candidate and 18 election workers in the run up to the vote.

But U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura says the statistic of 18 people kidnapped out of the total 86,000 election workers shows progress for the vote in terms of security. "Last year there were 272 serious incidents, so we have to look at it again in context," he said.

The Afghan Defense Ministry says nearly 300,000 Afghan police and soldiers, backed by 150,000 international troops, are providing security during the election.

Preliminary results are not expected before October 8.  Officials likely will announce final results at the end of next month, following the resolution of any complaints of fraud or misconduct.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid