With only 3 days to go before the Presidential election in Afghanistan, incumbent Hamid Karzai has been taking part in a televised debate with other contenders: Ashraf Ghani and Ramazan Bashardost.
Recent surveys show Karsai is still in the lead but he has to win more 50 per cent of the vote or face a run off against the best of 35 other contenders. The Taliban have warned they will disrupt the vote, meanwhile the Afghan people have been praised for their courage. Hanif Atmar, Afghan Interior Minister said: “They will go to polling stations and they will vote for the person of their choice and they will show again and demonstrate their remarkable courage and resilience.” Thursday’s poll is also seen as a test for US President Barack Obama who has declared Afghanistan his administration’s main foreign focus. Meanwhile in Helmand province 3 more British soldiers have been killed bringing the total number of British dead to 204 since the allied invasion in 2001. The British made considerable gains in the recent Operation Panther’s Claw but now they are trying to hold their ground. Exiled Uzbek leader General Abdul Rashid Dostum has returned to Afghanistan. Dostum’s supporters had earlier threatened to withdraw support for Karzai unless he could come back.