Taliban insurgents are threatening to target Afghans who vote in the November 7 presidential run-off.
In a statement Saturday, the Taliban denounced the election as an
"American process," and vowed to disrupt it. The group said militants
will cut off main roads on election day and warned that anyone who
casts a ballot would do so at their own risk.
The Taliban issued a similar warning during the August 20 election. A
number of violent attacks, including rocket fire and the amputations of
ink-stained fingers on voters' hands, were reported.
Campaigning began Saturday for the second-round election between
incumbent President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah.
A United Nations-backed fraud investigation Monday invalidated nearly
one-third of Mr. Karzai's votes from the August election, pushing the
Afghan president below the 50-percent needed to avoid a run-off.
A spokesman for President Karzai's campaign, Wahid Omar, said Saturday
he is concerned about more violence during the run-off vote, but said
there is no other option but to have an election in order to install a
legitimate government. Omar also ruled out any potential power-sharing
Meanwhile, Afghan officials and the U.S. military say U.S. forces
killed four civilians, including two women and a child, when troops
fired on their vehicle in the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday.
The U.S. military says troops opened fire after the vehicle failed to
stop after being repeatedly signaled to do so.
In other violence, NATO says a roadside bombing killed two U.S. troops
in southern Afghanistan on Friday. Another NATO soldier was killed in a
fire-fight while on patrol in the region.
This year has been the deadliest for international troops in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban-led government in 2001.
U.S. President Barack Obama is closely watching the political situation
in Afghanistan as he considers a U.S. military recommendation to send
more U.S. troops to counter a growing Taliban insurgency.