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Jun 3, 2014

Pakistan’s Karachi in lockdown after politician arrested in London

LONDON/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – One of the most divisive and feared figures in Pakistan was arrested in London on Tuesday, his party said, sparking fears of a violent backlash in Pakistan and sending the country’s biggest city into lockdown.

Altaf Hussain, who is wanted at home in relation to a murder case, has lived in London in self-imposed exile since the early 1990s.

Apr 9, 2014

Frontrunner in Afghan vote rules out coalition government

KABUL (Reuters) – A frontrunner to succeed Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan’s president voiced the possibility of teaming up with a rival on Wednesday but ruled out forming a coalition government in order to avoid a second-round runoff.

Afghanistan voted in a landmark presidential election last weekend which, if successful, will usher in the first democratic handover of power in the country’s history as Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years in office.

Apr 9, 2014

Afghan commander: cross-border Taliban alliance growing stronger

CAMP THUNDER, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Taliban militants in Pakistan have established an increasingly close relationship with insurgents from across the border in Afghanistan, supplying them with explosives and well-trained fighters, a senior Afghan army commander said on Wednesday.

The Taliban in Pakistan have always operated separately from their Afghan namesakes, fighting to topple the democratically elected government in Islamabad and establish a strict Islamic sharia state in the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people.

Apr 7, 2014

Rivals cry foul as early results put Abdullah ahead in Afghan capital

KABUL, April 7 (Reuters) – Preliminary tallies from
Afghanistan’s presidential election showed former foreign
minister Abdullah Abdullah leading in parts of Kabul on Monday
but, with ballot counting likely to last weeks, it was far too
early to predict a winner.

The two other frontrunners complained of fraud in the April
5 vote, which, all being well, will lead to Afghanistan’s first
democratic transfer of power as incumbent Hamid Karzai prepares
to step down after more than 12 years in the office.

Apr 7, 2014

Rivals cry foul as first results put Abdullah ahead in Afghan vote

KABUL (Reuters) – Preliminary tallies from Afghanistan’s presidential election showed former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah leading in parts of Kabul on Monday, but with ballot counting likely to last weeks it was far too early to predict a winner.

The two other frontrunners alleged serious fraud in the April 5 vote, which all being well will lead to Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power as incumbent Hamid Karzai prepares to step down after more than 12 years in the office.

Apr 6, 2014

Smooth Afghan poll raises questions about Taliban strength

KABUL, April 6 (Reuters) – A bigger-than-expected turnout in
Afghanistan’s presidential election and the Taliban’s failure to
derail the vote has raised questions about the capacity of the
insurgents to tip the country back into chaos as foreign troops
head home.

The Taliban claimed that they staged more than 1,000 attacks
and killed dozens during Saturday’s election, which they have
branded a U.S.-backed deception of the Afghan people, though
security officials said it was a gross exaggeration.

Apr 6, 2014

Smooth Afghan election raises questions about Taliban’s strength

KABUL (Reuters) – A bigger-than-expected turnout in Afghanistan’s presidential election and the Taliban’s failure to significantly disrupt the vote has raised questions about the capacity of the insurgents to tip the country back into chaos as foreign troops head home.

The Taliban claimed that they staged more than 1,000 attacks and killed dozens during Saturday’s election, which they have branded a U.S.-backed deception of the Afghan people, though security officials said it was a gross exaggeration.

Apr 4, 2014

Amid spate of violence, Afghans vote to choose new leader

KABUL (Reuters) – From the rugged mountains bordering Pakistan to the windswept western plains, millions of Afghans vote on Saturday in an election for the first democratic transfer of power in the country’s tumultuous history.

The Taliban, hardline Islamists bent on toppling the government, have deployed fighters countrywide to disrupt an election they brand a U.S.-backed sham. Dozens of people have been killed in a spasm of violence leading up to the vote.

Apr 3, 2014

Risks of violence and fraud haunt landmark Afghan election

KABUL (Reuters) – Even if the Taliban fail to hobble the Afghan presidential election on Saturday, it could take months for a winner to be declared at a time when the country desperately needs a leader to stem rising violence as foreign troops prepare to leave.

Most people expect the election will be better run than the chaotic 2009 vote that handed President Hamid Karzai a second term amid massive fraud and ballot stuffing.

Mar 28, 2014

Escalating attacks jangle nerves ahead of crucial Afghan vote

KABUL (Reuters) – With a week to go before Afghanistan’s presidential election, escalating violence across the country risks undermining the credibility of a vote meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in Afghan history.

The Taliban have declared war on the April 5 election, calling it a Western-backed sham and threatening to do everything in their power to derail the vote through a campaign of gun attacks, bombings and assassinations.