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Afghanistan beefs up security ahead of general elections

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-04 17:34

Afghanistan beefs up security ahead of general elections

A policeman stands guard outside the Mullah Mahmood Mosque in Kabul, which will be used as a polling station for Saturday's presidential election, April 4, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Afghanistan beefs up security ahead of general elections

 Taliban kill 10 in 3-hour assault at police station in Afghanistan

KABUL -- The Afghan government has beefed up security ahead of April 5 Presidential and Provincial Councils elections.

Security personnel have been deployed in sensitive areas and roads leading to the voting centers in Kabul and other cities as well as in towns and villages to ensure security for the voters.

Afghanistan's third presidential and provincial councils' election since the fall of Taliban in late 2001 is slated for Saturday.

In national capital of Kabul, police check any car enters the city. The government has asked all Afghans over 18 years old to visit voting centers on Saturday and use their right of suffrage in electing the country's new president and provincial councils' members.

Earlier on Friday, the Afghan election officials said that all election sensitive materials, including ballot papers, boxes and indelible inks had been shifted to district centers across the country and would be transported by the wee hours on Saturday to polling centers before the polling begins.

Some 12 million Afghans eligible to vote, with 35 percent of them women, would visit polling centers amid Taliban threats on Saturday to elect the country's next president to replace the incumbent Hamid Karzai who according to the country's constitution cannot stand for the third term. Assuring the citizens, Afghan Minister for Interior Mohammad Omar Daudzai has said that all necessary measures have been put on place to protect polling centers as well the voters.

Taliban militants who have vowed to derail the elections, termed the election process as a "ploy of US to continue its occupation of Afghanistan", calling upon people to boycott the voting process.

Scores of people including election workers have been killed since launching election campaigns on February 2 by Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.

Two provincial councils' candidates had also been killed during the 60-day election campaign period which ends at Wednesday night.

The armed militants outfit has also vowed to target anyone attending the voting process or provide security for the elections.

However, the Interior Minister Omar Daudzai has downplayed the Taliban threats, saying the national security forces are capable enough to ensure election security and deal with any threat eventually.

The number of presidential candidates has dropped to eight after the withdrawal of three contenders from the race, and those running for the council seats in 34 provinces across the country exceed 2,500. The provincial runners will vie for 458 seats of the provincial councils or assemblies, including 96 seats for women.

The leading candidates are former Foreign Ministers Abdullah Abdullah and Zulmai Rassoul as well as a former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

A total of 195,000 army personnel will be deployed to sensitive areas across Afghanistan in aid of the police and other law enforcement agencies. No major security incident took place as of Friday midday. However, two Afghan soldiers were killed and four others wounded in a clash and a rocket attack in the country's eastern province of Kunar overnight.

Since early Thursday, two other soldiers were killed in bomb attack, according to Defense Ministry statement earlier on Friday.

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