Afghanistan elections: Multiple blasts rock Kabul polling stations

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 20, 2018, 12.37 PM(IST)

This is a developing story. Photograph:( WION )

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There has been no confirmation on the number of casualties yet, if any. Further information is awaited. 

Multiple blasts rocked Kabul polling stations on Saturday morning as Afghans gathered to vote in the parliamentary elections, AFP reported. 

Voters were seen fleeing a school in the north of the Afghan capital after a blast, an AFP correspondent said, with witnesses reporting explosions at other polling centres.

A man told AFP "he was trying to vote but then had to run for his life after the blast" at the school that had been turned into a polling centre.

He saw several casualties evacuated. 

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed another two explosions near polling centres.

There were no casualties because voters were inside the buildings, he told AFP.

At least one official said there were "fatalities and injuries" from the explosions.

In the days leading up to the poll, the Taliban issued several statements urging candidates to withdraw and voters to boycott what the group calls a "malicious American conspiracy".

Polling centers opened at 7:00 am (0230 GMT) across the war-torn country, with some 54,000 security forces deployed to ensure peaceful polling. 

Election has been delayed in Kandahar province until October 27 after a Taliban-claimed attack on a US-Afghan security meeting that killed three people, including General Abdul Raziq.

Almost nine million people have registered to vote in the parliamentary election, which is more than three years late and only the third since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

But the threat of militant attacks and expectations for massive fraud are expected to deter many voters from showing up at the more than 5,000 polling centers. 

At least 10 candidates out of more than 2,500 contesting the lower-house election have been killed so far.

The poll is seen as a crucial test for next year's presidential election and an important milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva in November where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on "democratic processes".