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9/1/04 - ATTACKS IN AFGHANISTAN  - 2004-09-03

A car bombing outside the office occupied by an American security company killed more than ten people in Kabul, Afghanistan. Remnants of the ousted Islamic extremist Taleban regime claimed responsibility. Another bombing outside a school in the southeastern province of Paktika killed nine Afghan children and one adult.

The attacks are apparently part of an effort to disrupt the process leading to the presidential election in October. “The terrorists and the enemies of peace do not want these historic elections to succeed,” says Lutsullah Mashal, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. “That is why they are increasing their attacks.”

President George W. Bush says it is the terrorists who will not succeed:

“In Afghanistan, after three short years of their liberation, over ten-million people have registered to vote. They’re getting a whiff of liberty in Afghanistan, that sweet smell of freedom."

Ninety percent of eligible Afghans now hold voter registration cards; more than forty percent of them are women. David Singh, a United Nations spokesman in Afghanistan, says the registration numbers are “very encouraging, if not amazing.”

The U.S. is committed to “seeing this through to a successful conclusion,” says U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. “A successful conclusion is not simply a very well-run and transparent presidential election or, for that matter, a very well-run and transparent parliamentary election next April or so,” says Mr. Armitage. A successful conclusion, he says, “will be when the people of Afghanistan can live free of fear, permanently with their lights on across this country, permanently with their access to health care and education for both sexes.”