Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections had a troubled day Saturday, with a large number of attacks against different locations leaving at least 170 casualties across the country, and the capital city of Kabul facing multiple substantial attacks.
In many places around the country, election materials arrived late, or not at all. The Afghan Independent Electoral Commission extended voting at those sites a few additional hours. Officials also say some sites will open Sunday as well, since they barely operated at all.
Officials are downplaying the troubles with the voting, attributing it to some of the people who were trained in the biometrics not showing up. In reality, monitors say that in the course of going from site to site, they found roughly 25 percent of the polling centers were not open when they arrived. Whether they opened later or not isn’t clear.
How much damage this will do to the election’s credibility is unclear. There were already serious concerns before the vote, and some parts of Afghanistan, including the entire Kandahar Province, didn’t vote at all because of security problems.