Afghan Elections

Karzai2

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western allies have pronounced the country’s election a success, after voting passed off largely peacefully.

Mr Karzai hailed Afghans for braving Taliban “bombs and intimidations”. His praise was echoed by the US and Nato.

There were some attacks by insurgents, but the UN says the vast majority of polling stations were able to function.

President Karzai is facing challenges from about 30 rivals. Official results are not expected for two weeks.

“The Afghan people dared rockets, bombs and intimidations,” he told reporters as polls closed following a one-hour extension.

Mr Karzai praised the citizens who turned out to vote

“We’ll see what the turnout was. But they came out to vote. That’s great.”

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: “Lots of people have defied threats of violence and terror to express their thoughts about the next government for the people of Afghanistan.”

Mr Karzai said that based on reports by the interior ministry, 73 attacks had taken place in 15 provinces.

Among the violent incidents reported:

Taliban militants stormed a town in Baghlan, northern Afghanistan, preventing polling stations from opening, police tell AFP news agency. At least eight died in ensuing clashes with police

Taliban militants set fire to a bus on the Kandahar-Kabul highway in Ghazni, after offloading passengers and the driver, reportedly as punishment for violating a Taliban ban on using the road

Rockets hitting houses in Khost and Kandahar provinces killed two women and several children

More than 20 rockets landed in the capital of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold

In northern Baghlan province, a district police chief was killed when Taliban militants attacked a police post

Some 300,000 Afghan and Nato troops were on patrol to prevent attacks during the presidential and local polls.

 

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