Afghan polling centres plagued by problems as casualties surge to over 300

Another 148 polling sites that were supposed to open remained closed for security reasons, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) told AFP.

The IEC’s chronic mishandling of the parliamentary election, which is the third since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, has all but dashed hopes it can competently organise the presidential ballot, scheduled for April.

“This does not bode well for next year,” Afghanistan Analysts Network co-director Thomas Ruttig told AFP.

“The IEC has clearly shown its lack of capacity to run acceptable and transparent elections, instead publishing doctored figures.”

A Western official, who had monitored the months-long preparations, told AFP they had no confidence left in the IEC.

“None at all,” they said on the condition of anonymity.

“There are a lot of doubts that they would be able to handle the presidential election properly,” political analyst Haroun Mir said.

IEC figures show around 4-million Afghans risked their lives to vote over the weekend — many waiting hours for polling centres to open — despite scores of militant attacks.

Elections will be held in the southern province of Kandahar on October 27 after voting was delayed by Thursday’s assassination of a powerful police chief.

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