15 November 2018

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UNAMA Reports Record Level of Taliban Violence Against Afghan Elections

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Kabul (BNA) More than 400 Afghans were martyred or wounded in poll-related violence during three days of voting last month, the United Nations said Tuesday, making the parliamentary ballot the deadliest on record.
The vast majority of the 435 casualties 56 dead and 379 wounded happened on the first day of voting on October 20, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report here yesterday.
That compares with 251 people martyred or injured in the presidential election of 2014 and is more than any other poll since UNAMA began documenting civilian casualties in 2009.
In the six months leading up to the ballot, nearly 500 people were martyred or wounded more than a third of them women and children and 245 abducted.
“Deliberate acts of violence against civilians and civilian objects which include polling centers as well as indiscriminate attacks, are strictly forbidden under international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes,” UNAMA said.
Days before the election, the Taliban issued several warning that they would attack polling centers.
It advised voters to stay home and candidates to withdraw from the race.
The Taliban mostly used rockets, grenades, mortars and bombs to disrupt the ballot and deter people from showing up at voting sites, UNAMA said.
The deadliest single attack, a suicide explosion in Kabul that martyred 13 people and wounded 40 was claimed by the Islamic State group, it said.
Official figures show roughly 4.2 million Afghans voted, compared with nearly nine million who were registered to participate.  Voting was held for two ayes after problems with untested biometric verification devices and missing or incomplete voter rolls caused lengthy delays at polling centers.
Voters in the southern province of Kandahar had to wait a week to cast their ballot after the assassination of a powerful police chief sparked fears of a flare up in violence.
The release of initial results of the elections has been postponed to November 23.
 

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