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Tue Aug 9 2005Violence Grows As Afghan Parliamentary Elections Approach
Tue Aug 9 2005Afghan Elections
Parliamentary election in Afghanistan are scheduled to take place on September 18th, 2005. There are many concerns about fraud and threats to women running for office. With warlords controlling most parts of the country and little centralized control, international monitoring is likely to focus solely on Kabul with almost no real of chance of free and fair voting in the rest of the country. NATO is planning on boosting troop levels ahead of the polls as is the US military.
While largely forgotten by the world's media as the US went into Iraq, the war in Afghanistan has been getting more violent. Even with fewer US troops in the country than in previous years, US casualties in the first six months of 2005 were greater than the total during any previous year of the war. Tactics such as Roadside bombs and even sectarian suicide attacks against mosques show that Afghan fighters are learning from the conflict in Iraq.
Hundreds of soldiers have deserted the Afghan National Army complaining of poor conditions and fierce resistance. There are signs that the Taleban is again gaining strength and violence against women is on the rise. On June 18th, the main government building in Mian Nishin was taken by the Taliban after a night-time attack; during the attack 18 police were taken hostage. On June 28th, the Taleban have shot down a US Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan's eastern province of Konar killing 16 US soliders. On July 16th, Malik Agha, a supporter of President Hamid Karzai, was abducted by the Taleban and found hanged shortly later.
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