Kabul on edge ahead of election results

Sept. 2, 2009 at 12:20 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- With a major suicide operation Wednesday targeting government officials in Afghanistan, Kabul residents are on edge as they await presidential election results.

An attack at the Metherlam Mosque in the eastern province of Laghman killed Abdullah Laghmani, a deputy intelligence official, and dozens others Wednesday.

"The contrast between the majority of Afghans who yearn for peace during this holy month and those who conducted this attack could not be more stark," said Peter Galbraith, the U.N. deputy special envoy to Afghanistan.

Kabul residents are on edge, meanwhile, as violence increases ahead of the release of official results from the Aug. 20 provincial and presidential elections.

Incumbent President Hamid Karzai is gaining ground as results are released. His closest rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, warned recently that Afghans might take to the streets in violent protest if Karzai wins.

He said the government would be responsible for any unrest if considerations were not made to the growing number of fraud complaints in the elections.

In interviews with local residents, the Pajhwok Afghan News agency highlights a growing concern of the threat from violent protests in reaction to the election results.

Area businessmen, for their part, complain the lingering threats are preventing foreign investors exploring commercial opportunities in Afghanistan.

"If there is no security, no one will invest," one merchant told Pajhwok.

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