World News

Bomb Destroys Truck Carrying Afghan Ballot Boxes, Kills 3

Afghan workers of the election commission office unload a ballot box from a truck after votes in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 6, 2014.
Afghan workers of the election commission office unload a ballot box from a truck after votes in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 6, 2014.
VOA News
A roadside bomb in Afghanistan has destroyed a truck carrying eight boxes of ballots cast in the country's presidential election and killed three people.

Sunday's blast in the northern province of Kunduz came a day after about seven million people voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Police said the truck was carrying the ballots from polling places to Kunduz city.

The three killed were a driver, a policeman and a member of the country's Independent Election Commission.

Officials described Saturday's voting as mostly violence-free with no major attacks - even as at least 20 people were killed in scattered bombings, rocket attacks and gun battles.

A member of the Afghan parliament, Shukria Baraekzai, said the voting was a rebuff of the Taliban and its opposition to the election.

"The way the Afghans were participating in the election, the turnout of the peoples in the polling stations, women and men in bad weather condition, in an extreme high security threat, that was a fantastic slap on the face of enemy of Afghanistan and exactly a big punch on the face of those whom believed Afghanistan is not ready for democracy.''

Karzai, constitutionally barred from seeking a third term, praised his country's citizens who defied the Taliban's threats and came out in large numbers to vote.

He said their participation in the polls "made our beloved country proud and successful."

Some polling stations ran out of ballots due to the high turnout Saturday for the country's first democratic transfer of power.

Security was tight because Taliban militants threatened to disrupt the vote. More than 6,200 polling stations opened for voting, but a couple hundred were closed because of security concerns.

The special U.N. representative to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, praised Afghan voters for the turnout "despite the threats and intimidations" they had received from insurgents.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement congratulating the millions of Afghans who voted in what he called the "historic" elections. He also paid tribute to Americans who have "sacrificed so much" to make the vote possible. Obama said the election was critical to securing Afghanistan's democratic future as well as continued international support.

Preliminary results are expected later this month, and a final tally is due May 14. A second round of voting will be needed if none of the eight candidates receives more than half the vote.
Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul gestures during a press conference in Kabul on April 6, 2014.Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul gestures during a press conference in Kabul on April 6, 2014.
x
Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul gestures during a press conference in Kabul on April 6, 2014.
Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul gestures during a press conference in Kabul on April 6, 2014.
Three front-runners were among eight presidential candidates: Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister and World Bank official; former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul; and Abdullah Abdullah, also a former foreign minister. Karzai has been in power since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001.

Some 450 provincial government seats were at stake as well.

The lead-up to the election was fraught with violence. Taliban militants had threatened to kill anyone voting and had already carried out a number of bomb and gun attacks.

Afghan officials say they deployed hundreds of thousands of security forces to protect the country's 12 million eligible voters.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the voter turnout "demonstrates to the world that the Afghan people want to determine their own future."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rassmussen said every vote in the Afghan election was "a vote for democracy."

The International Security Assistance Force congratulated Afghanistan on the election, saying "the Afghan people have chosen their future of progress and opportunity."

The U.N. Security Council commended the "participation and courage of the Afghan people to cast their ballot despite the threat and intimidation by the Taliban and other extremist and terrorist groups."

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs