Record 435 casualties reported during Afghan polls: UN

UN mission blames Taliban for deliberate campaign of violence during Afghan parliamentary elections in October

Record 435 casualties reported during Afghan polls: UN

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghanistan suffered 435 civilian casualties (56 deaths and 379 injured) during the last month’s parliamentary elections in the country, the UN said on Tuesday.

In a special, titled 2018 Elections Violence, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted the Taliban launched “deliberate” campaign of violence and intimidation to disrupt parliamentary elections, resulting in record high numbers of civilians killed and injured on an election day.

The report verified a total of 435 civilian casualties (56 deaths and 379 injured) during the process.

“This is the highest level of civilian harm compared to the four previous elections held in Afghanistan,” the report stated.

It also documents grave concerns over the numerous attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and populated civilian areas during the elections, including attacks on schools used as polling centers.

More than 100 children and over 50 women were killed or injured in the violence (23 children and 2 women killed), it added.

According to the country’s Independent Election Commission, at least 8.8 million people had obtained voter cards to cast votes for 2,500 candidates who ran for the lower house of the parliament.

Ten of the candidates got killed in different terrorists attacks.

The turnout was reported to be over 40 percent. Preliminary results are expected in the last week of November while final results are due in December.

More than 70,000 security and defense forces were assigned to ensure security of the parliamentary elections across Afghanistan.

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