The Taliban have threatened to attack anyone attempting to vote in next month’s Afghan presidential elections. The warning and calls for a boycott came in an e-mail sent out on the Internet.
Around 17 million people in Afghanistan are eligible to vote in the ballot, which is set to take place on August 20. That is expected to be a logistical nightmare, with almost as many donkeys as trucks being used to ferry ballot papers to remote mountainous areas. The election is also being staged against a backdrop of increased violence across Afghanistan, particularly in Helmand province. British troops have just completed Operation Panther’s Claw – a five-week offensive against the Taliban. US soldiers are also carrying out similar missions against insurgents and yesterday both Washington and London insisted they would stay the course, despite public support for the war effort fraying on both sides of the Atlantic.