Voting continues in 401 centers closed on day 1 of Afghan polls

Voting continues in 401 centers closed on day 1 of Afghan polls 

Afghan voters wait in line for the reopening of a polling center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 21, 2018, where an explosion killed four people and injured 12 others a day earlier. EPA-EFE/JAWAD JALALI

Kabul, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- Afghan people continued to queue up outside polling centers on Sunday as voting was extended by a day with over 400 centers remaining shut on day one owing to technical glitches and logistical and security challenges.

At least 27 civilians and nine security forces members were killed and 126 people were wounded on Saturday in attacks perpetrated by the Taliban.

At least 31 Taliban rebels were also killed in the clashes, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

The 401 polling centers that were shut in 22 of the 34 Afghan provinces opened Sunday at 8am local time and were set to close at 5pm, Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesperson Abdul Azizi Ibrahimi told EFE.

“These polling stations were opened in all these provinces today morning (…) to enable those people to vote who were unable to cast their vote yesterday,” Ibrahimi said.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said in a press conference on Sunday in Kabul that the security situation in Afghanistan was under control.

The Afghan government had deployed 70,000 troops on Saturday to boost security during the elections, in which 8.8 million people were registered to vote to elect 250 representatives to the parliament.

More than three million people had voted in 4,900 centers on Saturday, IEC head Abdulbadi Sayyad said at a press conference on Sunday morning.

Elections were delayed in the Ghazni province owing to ethnic tensions and security concerns, while in Kandahar it was pushed back by a week after a brazen attack by the Taliban on Thursday during a high-level security meeting that killed and injured top officials.

“We hope the number will reach four or five million after all these votes are counted,” Sayyad said.

Provisional results are expected to be announced on Nov. 10 and the final results will be announced on Dec. 20, according to the election commission.

The elections are being held after a delay of three years owing to security challenges and political and economic instabilities in the country.