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Afghanistan: Kandahar elections postponed over Thursday killings

General Abdul Raziq was killed on Thursday after a meeting in a Southern Province/COURTESY

Parliamentary election in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, due to be held on Saturday, will be delayed following the assassination of a powerful provincial police commander, according to the electoral body and the president’s spokesman.

President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Haroon Chakansuri said in a tweet that the decision was made following demands from local people in the the province and recommendation from electoral officials.

The suspension of the polls followed the assassination of Kandahar province’s police chief General Abdul Raziq in an attack claimed by Taliban.

The southern province’s intelligence chief, Abdul Mohmin, was also killed in the attack on Thursday.

Chakansuri said the new date for the polls will be announced later and did not give further details.

Afghans in other provinces will be voting on Saturday to elect members of parliament in polls delayed repeatedly for the past three years.

The interior ministry said they have put in place measures to ensure voting happens without incidents.

“The election is going according to plan. We have measures and we meet regularly. There will be no problem,” Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, told reporters.

“Over 70,000 security forces are there to maintain security. They are on high alert,” Rahimi said.

The Taliban have called the vote “fake” and warned people against taking part in the election.

The vote is seen a major test of the government’s ability to organise a peaceful, free and fair poll.

Since campaigning started late last month, at least 10 candidates have been killed and two others abducted.

More than eight million Afghan’s have registered to take in the poll – the third since Taliban were removed from power in 2001.

Polling stations will not open in at least a third of the country due to security concerns, the electoral commission said.

Taliban still control a third of the country.
Meanwhile in Kandahar, Raziq’s funeral was held in Kherqa Mubarak – one of the holiest shrines in the city.

Raziq – who survived several attempts on his life – was killed after a bodyguard opened fire after a meeting in the governor’s compound.

The top US commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, who attended the meeting with Raziq only moments earlier, was not hurt in the attack. Three Americans were wounded.

Raziq’s father and uncle were both killed by the Taliban in 1994.