Dozens of casualties as multiple blasts rock Kabul polling centres

Dozens of casualties as multiple blasts rock Kabul polling centres

Multiple explosions rocked polling centres across Kabul on Saturday, causing dozens of casualties,  amid growing anger among voters as they waited hours to cast their ballots in long-delayed legislative elections.

Kabul Polling blast

At least 30 people have been taken to a trauma hospital run by the Italian NGO Emergency, including a dead child, the organisation said on Twitter, hours after the Taliban warned voters to boycott the ballot "to protect their lives".

Afghan officials confirmed there have been casualties but would not provide a number. 

An AFP correspondent saw voters fleeing a polling centre in the north of the Afghan capital following a blast that a witness said had caused a number of casualties. 

Deadly violence has marred the shambolic preparations for the parliamentary election that is more than three years late, with hundreds killed or wounded.

The latest bombings are likely to scare off voters, hurting turn out and the credibility of the election.    

Missing voter registration lists and hiccups with biometric voter verification devices -- which are being used for the first time -- already have caused lengthy delays at polling centres across the country, voters and candidates complained.

Most polling centres 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 hours.  

"I came here early to finish and go home quickly, but we have been waiting for an hour and they have not started yet," Mustafa, 42, told AFP outside a mosque in Kabul. 

"The queue is getting longer. They have to register our votes quickly -- we are afraid a bomber or a blast may hit us."

Many polling centres in the heavily Shiite neighbourhoods of Kabul remained closed, a top government official told broadcaster Tolo News. 

"I have been waiting for two and a half hours and the IEC officials say they have not received the voter (registration) list yet," said Mohammad Mohaqiq, a deputy to Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

Abdullah -- Afghanistan's equivalent of prime minister -- also waited for around half an hour at a polling centre as election workers searched for his name on a list.

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