Election authorities extended parliamentary elections through 16:00 (local time) on Sunday, October 21, after voting was disrupted a day prior due to deadly attacks and technical issues at polling centers. Officials recorded 192 attacks, including 76 on polling centers, resulting in 67 deaths and 238 wounded across the country. As many as 15 people died in Kabul, while additional deadly incidents were reported in Baghlan, Kunar, Kunduz, Nangarhar, and Paktiya provinces.
On October 21, a Taliban IED detonated in Kabul at an election center, killing two, and elsewhere in the province, Taliban militants engaged security forces in a firefight. In Nangarhar province, a bus struck an unclaimed roadside bomb, killing 11 people, including children. Additional militant attacks at or near polling stations in Afghanistan, particularly in Kandahar province, are possible in the near-term.
Afghanistan hosted its third parliamentary election since 2001 despite threats from the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) to punish participants and disrupt the vote. 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, forcing officials to extend the vote into a second day. Polls in Kandahar are delayed up to a week following the October 18 assassination of top Afghan security officials, while elections in Ghazni province are delayed for several months. Final election results are expected in December 2018.
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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