Afghan Parliamentary Elections Delayed Until September; Bomb Blast Kills Five
Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that the parliamentary elections that were scheduled to take place in May will be postponed until September, citing technical problems for the delay. The parliamentary vote has been delayed several times over the past year due to security and logistical concerns.
According to the Associated Press, minutes before US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Karzai held a joint press conference announcing the delay, a bomb exploded in the southern city of Kandahar, killing at least five people and injuring 32. The Afghan police are blaming Taliban-led militants for the attack.
At the press conference, Secretary Rice stated that the US “will stand by the Afghan people as they go through the next state in their democratic development, the parliamentary elections that will take place this fall.” However, Rice did not mention that security continues to be a major obstacle to the rebuilding of democracy and reconstruction of the country. Winter weather in Afghanistan has claimed more than 600 lives, mainly children, due to a lack of roads for aid workers and military units to reach remote villages in the western and north-eastern parts of the country, reports . Reports have also been received that 1.5 million Afghans in Kabul are without shelter, with many dying from the brutal cold this winter.
Media Resources: The Associated Press 3/17/05; CNN 3/17/05; Reuters 3/16, 3/17/05; BBC News 3/14/05