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Polls postponed in Kandahar after top officials’ assassination

IANS

 

KABUL

The Afghan government on Friday delayed October 20 parliamentary elections by one week in Kandahar province after the provincial police chief and intelligence chief were assassinated by the Taliban.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani announced that the National Security Council decided in a special meeting that Saturday’s polls would be suspended as recommended by provincial leaders and the National Election Commission, Khaama Press reported.

Thursday’s brazen attack, claimed by the Taliban, was aimed at a meeting of senior US military and Afghan leaders in Kandahar city.

General Austin “Scott” Miller, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, escaped unharmed in the attack, but Kandahar police commander Lt Gen Abdul Razik and provincial intelligence chief Abdul Momin lost their lives.

Kandahar province Governor Zalmai Wesa was hospitalised with severe injuries.

The Taliban has vowed to “severely disrupt” the polls, in which some 2,500 candidates are running for 249 seats in the Afghan Parliament. Ten of those candidates have been killed in pre-election violence, along with more than 100 other Afghans.

Meanwhile, at least three people were killed on Friday in a blast targeting the office of a female parliamentary candidate in Afghanistan’s Balkh province, the police said.

The blast took place at the office of Parisa Shams Sadat in Zari district of the province, provincial police spokesman Shir Jan Durani was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency. All the victims were civilians. Villagers said the number of casualties was higher than reported.

The attack came a day after the provincial police chief and intelligence chief were assassinated by the
Taliban.

 

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