Afghans tighten security as Taliban threaten vote

KABUL (AFGHANISTAN (TIP)): Afghan police and soldiers are manning checkpoints at almost every intersection, searching vehicles and banning trucks from the streets, tightening security ahead of a weekend presidential election. Insurgents have intensified attacks ahead of Saturday’s runoff vote, and the Taliban have issued a new statement warning voters to stay away from the polls.

The first round in April passed relatively peacefully, but a recent assassination attempt against one of the two presidential hopefuls left in the race has raised fears. Still, a senior UN envoy expressed confidence Thursday that Afghan voters will turn out as they did in the first round on April 5.

Jan Kubis also called on candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai to give electoral authorities time to tally the ballots and resolve any complaints about fraud.

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