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UN says 85 civilians killed, 373 wounded during Afghan election campaign

Afghan presidential election (U.S. Marine Corps/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Hundreds of people were killed or wounded in violence related to Afghanistan’s recent presidential election and the campaign preceding the poll, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has said.

UNAMA reported that 85 people were killed and another 373 wounded in election violence during the period from June 8 to September 30. On polling day alone, 28 civilians were killed and 249 injured. Children accounted for more than one-third of the victims.

Afghan security forces said that, despite the high casualty toll, the election day was a success because Taliban militants failed to pull off any large-scale attacks.

The majority of Taliban attacks involved rockets, grenades, and mortars as well as homemade bombs planted near polling centers, including schools, the report found.

“These attacks, along with public statements made by the Taliban, revealed a deliberate campaign intended to undermine the electoral process and deprive Afghan citizens of their right to participate in this important political process, freely and without fear,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan. “Many Afghan people, however, defied the threats and cast their votes.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insisted on holding the controversial vote despite the abrupt collapse in U.S.-Taliban peace talks earlier in September.

The election results have also been delayed, further deepening the political uncertainty gripping the country.