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Roadside Bomb Hits Afghan Election Workers' Bus, Killing 11

Some of the victims in Herat Province of the unknown armed individuals who cut off the fingers of 11 people who voted in the presidential runoff on June 14.
Officials say a roadside bomb exploded beside a minibus that was carrying Afghan election workers home from voting stations on election night, killing 10 adults and a child.

Sediq Azizi, a spokesman for the Samangan Province’s governor, told RFE/RL on June 15 that four victims were staff from Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission and six were election observers.

He said six victims were women in the attack, which occurred near Samangan’s provincial capital, Aybak.

The incident occurred as ballot counting began in the runoff presidential election pitting former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah against Ashraf Ghani, an ex-World Bank economist and former finance minister.

Preliminary results are not expected until July 2 and final results due on July 22.

The White House said it is "particularly important" that the commission ensures against electoral fraud in the weeks ahead.

RFE/RL also has confirmed that Taliban militants cut off the fingers of 11 people in the western province of Herat to punish them for voting in the presidential runoff.

Those who had fingers amputated by the Taliban included three mullahs.

"We went to the polling station and returned [home]," said Sultan Ahmad, the mullah of a mosque in Herat's Koshke Kohna district. "The Taliban arrested me and cut off my finger because I voted," he told Radio Free Afghanistan.

As with all Afghan voters, the fingers of those victims had been marked with purple ink at the polling station to prevent them from being able to vote more than once.

Meanwhile, the United States has welcomed the June 14 ballot as a "significant step" for Afghanistan's democracy, but emphasized the need for the electoral commission to legitimize the vote.

Millions of Afghans cast ballots despite threats by the Taliban to disrupt the vote. Of those who turned out, 38 percent were women.

At least 46 people were killed in 150 militant attacks across Afghanistan on election day.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP