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Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

Asia

Afghan election workers among 11 killed in blast

AFP | Sunday, Jun 15, 2014

An Afghan election worker shows a ballot to the elections observers while counting the votes after a polling station was closed for voting in the northwestern city of Herat on April 5, 2014.

MAZAR-I-SHARIF - A roadside bomb killed 11 people in northern Afghanistan, including election workers, officials said on Sunday, as reports of violence during the presidential run-off vote mounted.

The victims, including three female election workers and two observers from the campaign team of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, were travelling a bus after the polls closed on Saturday when the blast ripped through the vehicle.

"The attack killed 11 people. The election workers had finished their job and were heading home," Samangan provincial governor Khairullah Anosh told AFP.

Akram Begzad, the provincial police chief, confirmed the incident.

The attack, in Aybak, the capital of Samangan, was one of more than 150 incidents on election day, though the Taliban failed to launch strikes in any major Afghan city.

More than 50 people were killed in militant attacks during the day, including five members of the same family who died when a Taliban rocket hit a house near a polling station.

Eleven voters in the western province of Herat had their fingers - which were dipped in ink to register their ballot - cut off by insurgents, Deputy Interior Minister Ayoub Salangi said.

Ahead of the vote, the Taliban had threatened to kill voters and officials, saying the election was an American plot "to impose their stooges".

Counting is underway in the election between Abdullah and his rival Ashraf Ghani.

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