Afghan police: Election day attacks averted

A man walks on a street near electoral posters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Police in northeast Afghanistan prevented two bomb attacks Thursday, as the country started voting in pivotal elections, authorities said.

Police early Thursday arrested two Taliban members who had planted a roadside bomb in the Farkhar district of Takhar province, said Zia Mahmudi, the chief police commander in Takhar. In a separate incident, police found explosives planted on a bridge near the city of Takhar, Mahmudi said. The explosives were removed. The Taliban had threatened to derail the presidential and provincial council elections with violence. The government has ordered a ban on media coverage of incidents of violence in an effort to “ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people” at the polls. Watch preparations on election eve ยป Along with police, about 300,000 Afghan and NATO troops were patrolling parts of the country to help safeguard voters Thursday, according to NATO officials in charge of election security.

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Earlier this week, there were several high-profile suicide bombings and attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Two days before the elections, violence in the capital, Kabul, included a rocket attack that damaged the presidential palace compound. In a separate attack, suicide bombers targeted a coalition military convoy on Jalalabad Road, a major thoroughfare in Kabul. The blast killed seven civilians and wounded 53 others, a defense ministry spokesman told CNN.