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Afghanistan braces for militant attacks as voters go to the polls

 

Afghans are bracing for more deadly violence on Saturday as voters turn out for the long-delayed legislative election across the war-torn country that the Taliban has vowed to attack.

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Some 54,000 security forces have been deployed to protect polling centres, which open at 7:00 am, but there are concerns the killing of a powerful police chief on Thursday will scare off many voters.

Voting has been delayed in the southern province of Kandahar after a Taliban-claimed attack on a US-Afghan security meeting that killed three people, including General Abdul Raziq.

General Scott Miller, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, escaped injury in the shooting, but 13 others were wounded.

Elections in Afghanistan are delayed by three years.

Almost nine million people have registered to vote in the parliamentary election, which is more than three years late and only the third since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

But the threat of militant attacks and expectations for massive fraud are expected to deter many voters from showing up at the more than 5,000 polling centres.

In the days leading up to the poll, the Taliban has issued several statements urging candidates to withdraw and voters to boycott what the group calls a "malicious American conspiracy".

Shambolic preparations for the ballot have been made worse by a wave of poll-related violence that has left hundreds dead or wounded.

At least 10 candidates out of more than 2,500 contesting the lower-house election have been killed so far.

 

20 October 18

 

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India's River Diversion Plan and South Asia's Waters

More dams are to come, as India’s need to power its economy means it is quietly spending billions on hydropower in Kashmir. The Senate report totted up 33 hydro projects in the border area with Pakistan. The state’s chief minister, Omar Abdullah, says dams will add an extra 3,000MW to the grid in the next eight years alone. Some analysts in Srinagar talk of over 60 dam projects, large and small, now on the books. (This special report has appeared in the Bulletin on Current Affairs - February 2012, you may have to Buy the print edition to read full story)

More in the Edition:

South Asia's Water - a growing rivalry

Indian, Pakistani & Chinese Border Disputes

India's River Diversion Plan: Its impact on Bangladesh

Water Crisis can Trigger nuclear war in South Asia

Reclaimed Water - the Western Experience

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