Kandahar goes to the polls in Afghan parliamentary vote delayed by violence

Suicide bomber targets electoral officials in Kabul

Security was tight in southern Kandahar on Saturday for parliamentary elections that were delayed by one week after an attack by an elite guard killed two top government officials, including a powerful provincial police chief.

Kabul police chief spokesperson Basir Mujahid said the bomber exploded his vehicle outside the office of the Independent Election Commission after police suspected his intentions and opened fire.

It was not immediately clear how many people were at the site at the time of the attack.

The attack on the IEC offices comes only a week after millions of Afghans across the nation flocked to polling stations to cast their votes in the parliamentary elections.

But long queues of voters had formed as early as 07: 00 local time (02h30 GMT), the polls opened two hours late.

The first parliamentary elections since 2010 are being held against a backdrop of near-daily attacks by the Taliban, who have seized almost half the country and have repeatedly refused offers to negotiate with the Afghanistan government.

People in Kandahar Province went to the polls on Saturday, while elections have yet to be held in central Ghazni Province, which is still reeling from the Taliban's takeover in August.

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IEC officials said 4,500 observers will monitor the election process in Kandahar and 6,000 staff have been hired in Kandahar for the election process.

The policeman, who was martyred, was injured in the attack and later died of his wounds.

According to the IEC, 111 candidates from Kandahar were competing for 11 seats, including three for women, at the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament.

These legislative elections are the first in Afghanistan to make use of biometric devices at voting centers.

Preliminary nationwide results are expected to be released in November.

Islamic State claimed responsibility on Monday for a blast near the election commission in Afghan capital Kabul, according to a statement on the group's Amaq news agency.

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