Explosions rocked polling centers across Kabul on Saturday, causing dozens of casualties, as the long-delayed legislative election dissolved into chaos with many voting locations remaining closed due to technical glitches and lack of staff.
At least three people were killed and more than 30 wounded, acting health ministry spokesman Mohibullah Zeer said, hours after the Taliban warned voters to boycott the ballot “to protect their lives”.
The Italian NGO Emergency said 37 people had been taken to its trauma hospital in Kabul, including a dead child.
Despite the threat of militant attacks, voters waited hours for polling centers to open across the war-torn country and many remained closed more than six hours after the election officially began.
After shambolic preparations, missing or incomplete voter registration lists and hiccups with biometric voter verification devices — which are being used for the first time — have caused lengthy delays at polling centers.
Most polling sites opened late after teachers employed to handle the voting process failed to show up on time, said the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which has promised to extend voting by four hours.