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'Afghan elections a blow to Taliban'

world Updated: Aug 22, 2009 12:31 IST
PTI
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The large turnout of voters in the Afghan presidential elections despite threats from militant groups is a blow to Taliban, eminent South Asian experts have said.

"The holding of the election is a blow to the Taliban, since it demonstrates that Afghans support the democratic process and not the Taliban's version of harsh Islamist rule," said James Philips and Lisa Curtis.

In a commentary released on Friday, the two scholars noted that the presidential elections in Afghanistan went relatively smoothly despite sporadic Taliban attacks aimed at disrupting the vote. There was no large-scale dramatic attack as many Afghan and US officials feared, they said.

However, both the scholars cautioned that the Taliban may regain its ground if new Afghan government fails to reins in corruption and establish inclusive governance.

Philips is Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, while Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.

"The US and coalition forces must assist the new Afghan government in ousting the Taliban from its strongholds, especially in the south, while ultimately relying on Afghan authorities to lead the rebuilding of their nation,"they said.

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