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NATO to deploy additional forces during Afghan elections

world Updated: Jul 24, 2009 15:30 IST
NATO to deploy additional forces during Afghan elections

In an effort to ensure free, fair and secure Presidential elections in Afghanistan, the NATO countries would deploy 8,000 to 10,000 additional security personnel besides sending 8,000 observers to the war-torn country.

"NATO countries will provide 8,000 to 10,000 additional troops to allow Afghans to vote securely," Afghan Ambassador to the US Said T Jawad said.

Security will be put in place in three rings, with Afghan National Police in the first ring closest to the polling place, Afghan National Army officers manning a second ring and US and NATO troops in a third, outer ring, he said.

The Afghan government has assigned two security guards to protect each presidential candidate. In all 41 candidates are vying for the presidency, while 82 candidates are contesting the vice-presidency, elections to which are scheduled for August 20.

"Our first presidential election was historic, but this election will mark the continued maturity and growth of Afghanistan's pluralistic political system," Jawad said.

"Despite security and logistical challenges, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC), the Afghan government and the international community are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that the will of the people can be expressed through the ballot box on August 20," he said.