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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid