More than 130 casualties as violence rocks chaotic Afghan elections

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KABUL: More than 130 Afghans were killed or wounded in poll-related violence yesterday, officials said, as the legislative election turned chaotic with hundreds of polling centres failing to open and voters queueing for hours.

Most of the casualties were in Kabul, where at least four people were killed and 78 wounded in multiple explosions, acting health ministry spokesman Mohibullah Zeer told media, after the Taliban warned voters to boycott the ballot “to protect their lives”.

Election organisers, who have been skewered over their shambolic preparations for the long-delayed ballot, said they would extend voting until today for 360 polling centres after hiccups with voter registration lists and biometric verification devices caused lengthy delays.

Violence also disrupted voting. In the northern city of Kunduz, three people died and 39 were wounded, hospital director Marzia Yaftali told media, after more than 20 rockets rained down on the provincial capital.

An Independent Election Commission (IEC) employee was killed and seven others were missing after the Taliban attacked a polling centre several kilometres from Kunduz city, destroying ballot boxes, provincial IEC director Mohammad Rasoul Omar said. —Agencies

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