Seven Afghan troops, two Taliban killed in post-poll violence
Seven Afghan troops and two Taliban militants were killed in clashes two days after nationwide assaults by the rebels aimed at disrupting the elections, officials said on Sunday.world Updated: Aug 23, 2009 16:38 IST
Seven Afghan troops and two Taliban militants were killed in clashes two days after nationwide assaults by the rebels aimed at disrupting the elections, officials said on Sunday.
A police commander in northern Baghlan province was killed when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghlan Markazi district on Saturday, said Jawid Basharat, spokesman for the provincial police chief.
Five other policemen accompanying him were also killed in the blast, he said.
The attack came two days after Taliban militants stormed several police posts in the same district, killing the district police chief and his bodyguard. The government said troops killed 20 Taliban fighters.
Because of Thursday's attack in the district, polling centres remained shut, according to the Afghan Independent Election Commission.
Northern Afghanistan was relatively peaceful until 2007 expect for sporadic roadside bombings. Baghlan and Kunduz were two of five provinces in the country where voting was severely hampered.
A security source in the province said the militants had erected a checkpoint on Kabul-Kandahar highway on Saturday.
The rebels were searching for passengers with ink-stained index fingers, a sign that they had cast ballots in Thursday's election, he said.
A vote-monitoring group said Saturday that one of their observers witnessed that militants chopped off fingers of two voters in southern Kandahar province, the birthplace of Taliban movement.
In order to avoid multiple voting, the voters were expected on Thursday to dip their fingers into bottle of indelible ink, a measure that turned ominous for the voters as Taliban could easily identify them in volatile southern region.
The militants repeatedly threatened Afghans not to take part in Thursday's presidential and provincial elections, warning they would slit throats and chop off fingers of anyone who voted.
The Taliban fighters conducted more than 130 attacks, including firing dozens of rockets and unleashing numerous suicide bombers on polling sites to disrupt the vote, which was the second in history of the country.