The number of civilians harmed in last month’s parliamentary elections was higher than in four previous elections in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report.
At least 435 civilian casualties were recorded, out of which 56 people were killed and 379 wounded, on election day on October 20, and during days when delayed polling was conducted in some provinces.
The numbers do not include casualties from attacks during the three-week election campaign.
“This report documents grave concerns over the organised campaign of numerous attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and in civilian populated areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres,” the report said.
The Taliban, Afghanistan’s largest armed group that was toppled from power by US-led invasion in 2001, issued a series of threats against the election and called on Afghans to boycott the process.
The report also said the attacks by the Taliban were carried out with rockets, grenades, mortars and improvised explosive devices.
Some attacks on voter registration centres prior to the election were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
“The Taliban’s actions forced many ordinary Afghans to choose between exercising their right to participate in the political process and risking their own safety,” the UNAMA said.
Elections were originally scheduled for 2014 but have been delayed several times, not only because of the security situation but also due to unresolved disagreements about election reforms and potential fraud.
The votes of the parliamentary elections are being counted, with results due later this month.