Multiple attacks on polling stations killed at least 20 people and injured more than 150 others nationwide on Saturday, October 20. Militants detonated explosive devices across Kabul, killing at least 15 people and injuring dozens more, while rocket and motor attacks in the provinces of Baghlan, Kunduz, Takhar, and Nangarhar, killed as many as five people. The number of casualties is expected to increase in the coming hours. No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Additional militant attacks at or near polling stations in Afghanistan are possible in the near-term.
Afghanistan is hosting parliamentary elections across the country despite threats from the Taliban to punish participants. The government deployed more than 70,000 additional troops to secure polling stations as at least ten candidates have died in targeted attacks ahead of the election. One-third of the country's polling stations remained closed on October 20 due to security risks and technical issues. Polls in Kandahar province are delayed by one week following the October 18 assassination of Afghan General Abdul Raziq, while elections in Ghazni province are delayed for several months.
Individuals in Afghanistan are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid areas impacted by the attacks, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities. The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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