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Afghan Parliamentary Election


The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Later this year, the people of Afghanistan will go to the polls to elect members of a national parliament. Under the country's new election law, the vote must be held at least three months after Afghan president Hamid Karzai announces the boundaries for the voting districts. Mr. Karzai has said that his administration is working on this issue and district maps will soon be released.

Lieutenant General Jean-Louis Py is head of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The force provided security during the presidential election which was held in October. But the General says because of the larger scale of campaigning and an expected large number of candidates, more peacekeeping forces will be needed:

"It's not comparable to the presidential election. It will be more complicated and more difficult to run. NATO will bring some additional forces in Afghanistan to support the national assembly election."

More than eight million Afghans, seventy percent of all registered voters, turned out to vote in the presidential election in which Mr. Karzai received more than fifty percent of the vote against a field of seventeen candidates.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that "The success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq will give strength and hope to reformers":

"Afghanistan and Iraq are struggling to put dark and terrible pasts behind them and are choosing the path of progress. Just months ago, Afghanistan held a fair election, and chose a president who is committed to the success of democracy and to the fight against terror."

"Citizens of Afghanistan have a constitution, guaranteeing free elections and full participation for women," says President George W. Bush. "The people of Afghanistan", he said, "are a world away from the nightmare of the Taleban."

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