US envoy in Afghanistan calls polls 'positive sign'

By Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat

KABUL (AA) – U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass praised the "courageous" Afghan people who voted in the country's parliamentary elections.

"Well, the election is still underway. There’s still voting to occur in Kandahar so I don’t think it is really appropriate for me to offer any perspective other than to know that we saw many courageous Afghans determined to exercise their right to vote and to choose their government and that’s a very positive sign," Bass said.

Voting for the long-due Afghan parliamentary elections began last Saturday amid tight security.

Election-related violence claimed more than 60 lives across the country in two days, local media reported.

The Taliban, who have declared war on the government, warned people against coming out to vote.

Polls will be held in Kandahar province on Oct. 27. A deadly Taliban shootout caused the vote to postpone in the province.

According to the country’s election authority, at least 8.8 million people were registered to vote for 2,500 candidates who are running for the Wolesi Jirga (lower house of the parliament).

More than 70,000 security personnel were on duty during the polls, the Ministry of Interior and Defense said.

Preliminary results are expected on Nov. 10 while final results are due by Dec. 20.