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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Afghanistan: election's day amid threats and kidnappings

Elections on Afghanistan were held amid the threats from the Talibans against the voters, the kidnappings of several campaign workers and, probably, of a candidate too, and the risks that female candidates have in this country.
About violence, yesterday there were several episodes of violence against voters. The most important ones are these two. The first, from Reuters:
"One national army and six Arbaki (militiamen) were killed in the attack," Baghlan's police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, told reporters by phone. Five others were wounded in the attack in Baghlan province, which took place near a polling station and an adjacent security outpost.
The second reported by Herald Sun:
A mortar bomb attack in northern Takhar province killed one man and injured two of his sons, said provincial spokesman Faiz Mohammad Tawhidi, after an earlier rocket attack killed two people in volatile eastern Nangarhar province.
The violence came as Afghans voted across the country despite Taliban threats to attack polling centres and security forces, and warnings that voters could expect to be harmed.
About the kidnappings: NYTimes:
The Taliban on Friday claimed to have kidnapped 30 campaign workers, election officials and even a candidate for Parliament as Afghans prepared to vote in elections Saturday.
...On Thursday evening in northern Badghis Province, 8 workers with the Independent Election Commission and 10 campaigners for a candidate went to meet with village elders in Qolghai, in Muqur District, about opening a polling station, but armed Taliban insurgents in the village took them prisoner, according to Sharafuddin Majidi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
In eastern Afghanistan, a candidate, Mollawi Hayatullah Purqani, was driving in the Alishing District of Laghman Province on Friday morning when he was stopped by the Taliban and taken away, according to Abdul Rahman Muhabat, head of the election commission in the province, who said that others with Mr. Purqani may have been kidnapped as well.
And lastly, related to the risks that have female candidates, Radio Free Europe run this article. An excerpt:
The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, an independent watchdog body, says that women remain the main target of election-related intimidation. For every 10 threats made against candidates, nine were made against women candidates, according to the foundation.

NATO soldier killed in Northern Afghanistan.
American soldiers ambushed in dramatic video.
Risky climate for female candidates in Afghan poles.
Afghan vote marked by light turnout and violence.
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