Taliban militants in Afghanistan have ambushed a police convoy, reportedly killing at least 22 people, as Afghan authorities consider postponing the presidential election scheduled for next year.
Police spokesman Mohebullah Moheb confirmed a late Sunday ambush on a police convoy in Lash-e Joveyn district of Farah Province but gave no details.
A member of the provincial council in Farah, Abdul Samad Salehi, said the convoy had been on its way to the district to introduce the newly-appointed district police chief when it came under attack. Another council member, Dadullah Qaneh, said the new chief had been killed in the attack.
A spokesman at the Farah provincial hospital said 22 bodies had been brought in from the scene.
Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the ambush. They have stepped up their attacks and have been staging assaults in the past weeks on an almost daily basis against security forces and civilian targets throughout Afghanistan.
Reuters reported on Monday that Afghan authorities were considering postponing the presidential election scheduled for April 20 next year.
Officials said the idea was being considered due to the chaotic situation of the country’s parliamentary elections, which were held last month.
The parliamentary elections came under heavy criticism over problems ranging from incomplete voter lists to malfunctioning biometric voter verification equipment.
Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections dissolve into chaos as blasts rock polling centers across Kabul, forcing authorities to extend voting in some constituencies to Sunday.
A spokesperson for the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Kubra Rezaie, said an option was being considered in which the presidential election — along with already-delayed parliamentary elections in the central province of Ghazni as well as the district council elections — could be postponed by three months.
“But we cannot say [definitively that] they will be postponed because this is something at an initial stage,” she stressed.
In the meantime, diplomatic efforts to begin peace talks with the Taliban may have gained momentum with a meeting held in Moscowearlier this month with the participation of the Taliban representatives and the High Peace Council (HPC).
US-led foreign troops toppled a Taliban regime that ruled over much of Afghanistan in 2001. However, the group continues a militancy and wreaks havoc across the country.