Taliban Stepping Up Plans to Disrupt Elections - U.S.
Reuters | September 26 2004
KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban and their al Qaeda allies are stepping up plans to disrupt Afghanistan's first direct presidential election on Oct. 9, the head of the U.S.-led coalition said on Saturday.
"We have seen indications that they have no other option," Lieutenant-General David Barno told a news conference in Kabul.
"For all terrorists in the region ... disrupting the election is part of their agenda."
Barno said an insurgency that has seen over 1,000 deaths since August last year was being waged by a "tiny minority," and that the rest of the world owed it to Afghanistan to stand by them beyond the election period.
"Our challenge ... is to rise up to the level of resolve shown daily here by our hosts, the people of Afghanistan, he said. "We must remain resolute, we must stay the course."
More than 17,000 U.S. and allied troops are fighting an insurgency waged by the Taliban, overthrown in 2001 for supporting Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network, architects of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
Interim Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to defeat 17 opponents standing against him in the election.
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