Police officials say over a dozen people were also wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car outside a police compound in Wardak province. Meanwhile, Afghans are voting in delayed Kandahar poll despite Taliban attack risk.

An Afghan police officer keeps watch at a checkpoint during the parliamentary election in Kabul, Afghanistan October 21, 2018.
An Afghan police officer keeps watch at a checkpoint during the parliamentary election in Kabul, Afghanistan October 21, 2018. (Reuters)

At least five people were killed and 15 more wounded when a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives outside a police compound in central Afghan province of Wardak on Saturday, a police spokesman said.

The early morning bombing in Maidan Shahr, the main city of the province, some 35km southwest of the capital Kabul, happened as policemen and civilians were going inside the base, said Hekmat Durrani, a spokesman for the police chief.

Three civilians and two policemen were among the dead, Durrani said, adding that the casualty figure could rise as policemen and first responders were busy recovering the wounded and bodies from collapsed walls and debris.

No group has claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack but the Taliban insurgents fighting to overthrow the Western-back Kabul government has carried out some of the deadliest bombings against government installations in past years.

Strategically located along the route connecting Kabul to the southern region, Wardak is ideally placed for insurgents who control nearly mountain villages to use as a staging ground for suicide bombings inside Kabul. 

Voting in restive Kandahar 

Meanwhile, Afghans risked their lives to vote in legislative elections in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, after the Taliban-claimed killing of a powerful police chief delayed the ballot by a week.

An hour after voting was due to start, long queues of turbaned men could be seen outside still-shuttered polling centres in the deeply conservative Kandahar provincial capital, which was blanketed with heavy security in anticipation of militant attacks. 

More than half a million people are registered to vote in Kandahar province where organisers are under pressure to avoid last weekend's debacle that forced the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to extend the nationwide ballot by a day. 

An Afghan Independent Election Commission official scans a voter with a biometric device at a polling centre for the country's legislative election in Kandahar province on October 27,2018.
An Afghan Independent Election Commission official scans a voter with a biometric device at a polling centre for the country's legislative election in Kandahar province on October 27,2018. (AFP)

Problems with untested biometric verification devices, missing or incomplete voter rolls and absent election workers following Taliban threats to attack the ballot forced Afghans to wait hours outside polling stations, many of which opened late or not at all.

Similar issues were already evident in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban and a province notorious for voting fraud, with many polling sites in the city still closed –– despite assurances from IEC deputy spokeswoman Kobra Rezaei on Friday that "we are absolutely ready".

Intense Taliban attacks 

Voting in the province was postponed following the October 18 death of General Abdul Raziq, an anti-Taliban strongman seen as a bulwark against the insurgency in the south, amid fears of violence flaring up.

Raziq was among three people killed in an insider attack on a high-level security meeting in Kandahar city that was attended by General Scott Miller, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Miller escaped unhurt, but US Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was among 13 people wounded in the shooting claimed by the Taliban. 

It is hoped that the appointment of Tadeen Khan –– a brother of Raziq and a member of the Afghan security forces –– as acting provincial police chief will help keep a lid on polling day unrest. 

More than 2,500 candidates, including mullahs, journalists and sons of warlords, are competing for 249 seats in the lower house.
More than 2,500 candidates, including mullahs, journalists and sons of warlords, are competing for 249 seats in the lower house. (Reuters)

Election death toll

IEC figures show around four million people voted in last weekend's parliamentary election that was held in 32 out of 34 provinces after months of chaotic preparations.

That compares with nearly nine million on the voter roll, but many suspect a significant number of those were based on fake identification documents that fraudsters planned to use to stuff ballot boxes.

Scores of attacks marred the first day of the election on October 20, with an AFP tally showing nearly 300 civilians and security forces were killed or wounded in poll-related violence.

More than 2,500 candidates, including mullahs, journalists and sons of warlords, are competing for 249 seats in the lower house.

The election is seen as a dry run for next year's presidential vote and an important milestone ahead of a UN meeting in Geneva in November where Afghanistan is under pressure to show progress on "democratic processes".

Source: TRTWorld and agencies