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Afghans Vote in Elections Marred by Fears of Violence and Fraud

By midday, violence had been reported in several parts of the country. Officials and residents said there were mortar attacks in the provinces of Uruzgan and Helmand, in the south. In the northern province of Kunduz, officials reported fighting in several districts and rockets striking Kunduz city. The Taliban had blocked the highway from Kunduz to Takhar Province.

Gul Bai, a local police commander in the Imam Saheb district of Kunduz Province, said the Taliban had begun launching attacks at 2 a.m. and that the fighting was still going on hours later. “In Abfrosha district, they hit the polling center and the boxes with rockets,” he said. “We have four security forces martyred there.”

In the province’s Chardara district, fighting also started early, and the security forces managed to open only one of the district’s four voting sites.

“We could open only one polling site, but the people are not coming,” said Abdul Karim, a local police commander. “Even now, the fighting is continuing.”

At one polling center in Kabul, where voting began after a two-hour delay, people were lined up and waiting for their turn despite reports of small explosions in several parts of the capital.

“I am worried about security, but I am here to vote because I am tired of the current situation,” said Haji Mohammed, 50.

Hossai, an 18-year-old first-time voter, said she was excited to exercise her right.

“I am the only one from the family who votes,” said Hossai, who uses only one name. “I think that my vote can change the situation. That is why I am here.

“I am worried about the security situation,” she added. “I just heard about the explosion somewhere in Kabul, but it won’t stop me from voting.”

Source: NYT > World

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