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Afghanistan election - Kabul shootout

Police and Taliban clash in the capital

by Tony Cross

Article published on the 2009-08-20 Latest update 2009-08-21 14:19 TU

Police in Shah Shaheen, 20 August 2009.
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)

Police in Shah Shaheen, 20 August 2009.
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)

A shoot-out in Kabul left two alleged Taliban dead, according to security force sources at the scene. Afghans are voting in presidential and provincial elections on Thursday. The Taliban had warned of attacks and called for a boycott.

Armed police fought with the rebels in the capital’s Shah Shaheen neighbourhood, a poor area with a largely Pashtun population. Helicopters hovered over the scene and armed police crowded the road near the fighting.

Police on the spot said that two Taliban had been killed during a shoot-out which started at 9.30 am, local time.

Another was reported to be on the run somewhere in the area, and police warned journalists not to go too near to the scene because of Taliban presence.

The government on Wednesday warned the media against reporting on security matters while voting is going on, but both Afghan and international journalists said that they would not observe the ban.

A voter has his thumb inked to show he has voted, Kabul, 20 August 2009.(Photo: Hoshang Matin/RFI)

A voter has his thumb inked to show he has voted, Kabul, 20 August 2009.
(Photo: Hoshang Matin/RFI)

The Taliban vowed to disrupt voting and the ballot-casting got off to a slow start.

Most of those who did vote seemed satisfied with the security measures.

‘‘It’s safe and secure and I don’t think there’s any problem,’’ said Mohammad Salim, a driver who was voting at Wazir Akbar Khan.

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