Local News Summary - Sept 19

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In today's local news: counting continues amid claims of fraud; alleged ballot-stuffers arrested in Logar; bodies of kidnapped IEC workers found; Kabul candidate accused of interfering in count; 

56 Detained for Stuffing Ballots in Logar
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 19

Fifty-six people, half of whom were election workers, were detained for stuffing ballot boxes with fake votes in central Logar province, officials said. The suspects were detained on Saturday after polling centres closed in Dobandi area of Khwakhi district, Zarghone area of Muhammad Aghan district and Barakibarak district and Porak village of Pul-i-Alam city. Eleven people including four workers of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) were arrested at the Dobandi polling centre, provincial chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Gen. Abdul Satar Luni, told Pajhwok Afghan News. [PAN]

Afghan Poll Workers Bodies Found
BBC, Sept 19

The bodies of three members of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) kidnapped during voting on Saturday have been found, the IEC chairman has announced. Fazal Ahmad Manawi said the bodies were found in northern Balkh province. They were kidnapped during a parliamentary election which Taliban militants had vowed to disrupt. The announcement means that at least 17 people were killed on election day in about 445 violent incidents. Announcing the death of his colleagues, Mr Manawi said: "Unfortunately three IEC workers who were abducted yesterday in the Chemtal district of Balkh province were killed and we found their bodies today." [BBC] See our report from today's IEC press conference here.

Legislator survives bomb attack in Kapisa
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 19

A member of the Wolesi Jirga from central Kapisa province survived a bomb attack, but one of his bodyguards was killed and a policeman wounded in the blast, an official said on Sunday. The explosion took place in Karbori village of Nijrab district on Saturday when Abdul Hadi Safi, also a parliamentary candidate, was going home with 15 associates after observing the voting process. [PAN]

Technical Problems Hinder Voting Process
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 18

Shrugging off threats by the Taliban, thousands of voters turned out to choose a new parliament, but technical problems meant they were left waiting in line for hours or worse, turned away without getting a chance to cast their ballot. Indelible ink that washed off, hole punchers than could not cut through voting cards, delays in the opening of polling stations and too few ballot papers for those who wished to vote were just some of the problems facing the country's second ever parliamentary poll. [PAN]

Widespread Fraud in Helmand: FEFA
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 18

The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) on Saturday alleged widespread poll fraud in southern Helmand province, a stronghold of the Taliban militants. But Governor Muhammad Gulab Mangal said they had prevented many individuals from committing election irregularities. The voting ended without any major security problems, he said. [PAN]

IEC Calls the Elections a Success
TOLO, Sept 17

Independent Election Commission announced on Saturday evening that the Afghan parliamentary elections ended successfully despite fears of fraud and Taliban attacks.
Although there were some who attempted to commit fraud, but it wasn't possible because the IEC was closely monitoring everything, head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Fazal Ahmad Manawi, told reporters at a conference. "There may have been some people trying to commit fraud, but I believe that with the strict measures we have taken, we will be able to track violators and reveal their names," Manawi said. Head of the IEC said 92 percent of all polling centres were open throughout the country during the elections. [TOLO]

International community praises Afghanistan Elections
Pajhwok Afghan News, Sept 19

The international community has praised the millions of "courageous" Afghans who braved Taliban threats to vote in the country's second parliamentary election. According to initial reports, more than 3.6 million people voted at 85 percent of the polling centres nationwide.  Although the total electorate is about 11 million people, the International Election Commission had said that a 40 percent turnout would be considered a success. [PAN] See reactions to the elections from key international agencies here.

Parliamentary Candidate Disrupts Vote-Counting
TOLO, Sept 19

Jamil Karzai, a candidate for the Afghan parliamentary elections, has interrupted in a vote-counting centre in Kabul, observers say. Some of the observers of the Afghan parliamentary elections severely criticised Jamil Karzai's behaviour who allegedly entered a vote-counting centre in Kabul by force on Saturday, a claim denied by Karzai. These observers say Jamil Karzai entered the voting centre after it was closed following the end of Saturday's parliamentary elections, and disrupted the process of vote counting. "All the observers had gathered and suddenly there was a rush. They said someone had entered. Later we noticed Jamil Karzai going out of the office with his bodyguards." said one of the observers to TOLOnews reporter. Jamil Karzai, denying the reports, accused employees of the Election Commission of being involved in  fraud. [TOLO]

Eight Children Killed by Rocket in Kunduz
Reuters, Sept 18

Eight Afghan children were killed while playing with a rocket round left in a village on Sunday in northern Kunduz province, an official said. The incident happened in Ali Abad district of Kunduz, which took the brunt of attacks by the Taliban insurgents on Saturday when the militants fired rockets as part of an effort to disrupt the parliamentary poll in many parts of the country. "Seven died on the spot and the other one passed away while being taken for treatment," Ali Abad's district chief Habibullah Mohtashim said. Mohtashim said the rocket may have been fired by the Taliban on Saturday and did not explode or was placed for a planned attack which never happened. [Reuters]