Unknown armed men storm private TV station in complex attack in Kabul

Afghan security personnel rescue a man from the Shamshad TV building after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Police officer Jan Agha says three people including a suicide bomber attacked the TV station. (AP)
Updated 07 November 2017
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Unknown armed men storm private TV station in complex attack in Kabul

KABUL: A group of gunmen stormed a private TV station in a commando-style assault in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of several people, in the latest spell of escalation of attacks in the country.
The Taliban militants distanced themselves from the attack on Shamshad TV station which lies in a crowded part of downtown Kabul and is only two miles away from the presidential palace.
Sounds of a number of blasts and exchange of gunfire were heard from the area.
Initially, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the entrance of the TV, paving the ground for entry of a number of attackers inside, witnesses said.
At least two guards of the station lost their lives in the blast and one its female staff was shot dead while trying to flee, local media said.
The attackers carried hand grenades and bombs, witnesses said.
The interior ministry said police and reinforcements were deployed and were trying to deal with the incident in the city where a series of attacks last month killed scores of people.
A number of press organizations have come under attacks of militants in recent years in Afghanistan.
Shamshad, like most media air anti-Taliban and Daesh advertisements and is seen as running racy songs and soap operas.


Vote count begins for Afghan election

Afghan election observers at a polling center after ballots in the country’s legislative election were counted in Kabul on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2018
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Vote count begins for Afghan election

  • Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging
  • The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates

KABUL: Vote counting began on Monday for Afghanistan’s parliamentary election, which was marred by violence and irregularities, with political parties alleging “organized fraud.”

The parties said mismanagement and hundreds of Taliban attacks, which led to an extension of voting for another day at hundreds of polling stations, could raise questions over the election result, which is expected to be released in two months.

Some candidates said powerful figures were behind election rigging, and biometric devices, which were put in place to counter fraud, were smashed to facilitate the rigging. 

Abdul Bade Sayad, head of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), was cited by local media as confirming incidents of biometric equipment being smashed, and the presence of strongmen inside some polling stations. 

But the IEC should not be held responsible for this, he said, adding: “When the government itself feels helpless before powerful figures, then senior officials of the commission should not be blamed.”

The Electoral Complaints Commission said there was mismanagement during the election, and as of Sunday it had received some 5,000 complaints from voters and candidates.

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said people could not vote on Saturday in some 1,000 polling stations. 

Ahead of the election, which was delayed for more than three years, the government said it could not open more than 2,000 stations due to security threats.

Alleged irregularities included polling stations opening late, biometric devices malfunctioning, and the absence of IEC staff and voter registration lists.

Of the 9 million people who had registered to vote, nearly 4 million cast their ballot, the IEC said.

The IHRC said the IEC should not shun its responsibility regarding “shortcomings and grave violations in voting centers.”

The Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan said: “In some of the polling stations, ballots were not counted; instead the ballot boxes were transferred to a different location for counting… without informing the observers about the new location.”