Afghanistan: Kandahar elections delayed by a week after killings

The delay was caused by the assassination of General Abdul Raziq and intelligence chief of the province.

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    The suspension of the polls followed the assassination of police chief General Abdul Raziq in an attack claimed by Taliban [Ismail Sameem/Reuters]
    The suspension of the polls followed the assassination of police chief General Abdul Raziq in an attack claimed by Taliban [Ismail Sameem/Reuters]

    Kabul, Afghanistan - Parliamentary elections in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province, due to be held on Saturday, will be delayed by a week 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 residents of 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 the Taliban.

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

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    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 incident.

    "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 Al Jazeera.

    "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 as 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 Afghans have registered to take in the poll - the third since the 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 told Al Jazeera.

    Taliban still control a third of the country.

    Meanwhile, in Kandahar, Abdul Raziq's funeral was held in Kherqa Mubarak - one of the holiest shrines in the city.

    Abdul 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 Abdul Raziq only moments earlier, was not hurt in the attack. Three Americans were wounded.

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

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News