Roadside Bomb Kills 15 People in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -

A roadside bomb killed at least 15 people traveling in vehicles that had been diverted from a main road Monday after an earlier attack in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

The blast came after a relatively calm weekend in which no major attacks were reported as Afghans voted for a new president and provincial councils.

The Taliban had threatened violence to disrupt Saturday’s vote, and staged a series of high-profile assaults in the preceding weeks. But security forces tightened their grip and only sporadic attacks took place.

The two SUVs carrying the civilians hit the hidden explosives on a side road that was being used because authorities blocked the main road following a suicide bombing targeting a NATO convoy in Kandahar province, the local government spokesman said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the earlier attack on Monday.

Electoral officials, meanwhile, remained largely mum about results from Saturday’s historic vote, in which millions of people lined up in the rain, defying fears of violence to cast their ballots. President Hamid Karzai was constitutionally barred from a third term, and excitement was palpable as Afghans voted in what promises to be the country’s first democratic transition of power.

Some candidate forecasts and partial results are expected in the coming days. Noor Mohammad Noor, a spokesman for the Independent Election Commission, said preliminary results were due April 24 and final results will be announced May 14.