Kabul attacks escalate on Afghan election eve | world | Hindustan Times
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Kabul attacks escalate on Afghan election eve

Taliban gunmen struck inside the heavily guarded Afghan capital on Wednesday, police said, as the Islamist militia waged a bloody countdown to the war-torn country's second presidential election.

world Updated: Aug 19, 2009 19:00 IST

Taliban gunmen struck inside the heavily guarded Afghan capital on Wednesday, police said, as the Islamist militia waged a bloody countdown to the war-torn country's second presidential election.

Security forces fanned out on high alert in a bid to protect Kabul from a spike in Taliban violence, after two suicide attacks and rocket strikes on the relatively peaceful city just days before Thursday's vote.

Western-backed President Hamid Karzai hopes to win by a big enough margin to avert a run-off vote, but his government demanded a media blackout for fear that reporting of the violence could hurt turnout among 17 million voters.

Claims of vote-buying along with rampant corruption and Karzai's reliance on fractious warlords who stand accused of rights abuses, have fuelled concerns about the credibility of the election.

Armed police forced their way into a Kabul bank after it was stormed by at least three gunmen. After a battery of gunfire, police dragged out bodies of three attackers, feet first, bumping them down the stairs.

"We have killed three of the attackers inside the bank," Kabul criminal investigation police chief Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada told AFP.