Campaigns started in Afghanistan on Sunday, for an election whose outcome is seen as make or break for country's future. The vote will be a crucial test of whether Afghanistan can ensure a stable transition, amid a surge in Taliban violence and ...
The first visible signs of an election campaign which kicked off on Sunday.11 candidates are vying to succeed Hamid Karzai, who has been Afghan President since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.SOUNDBITE: (English) Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, Chief electoral officer for the Independent Election Commission: This is a very important election, very crucial election because this is the first time from an elected president we are going to go to another elected president. And first time I mean political transition is going to take place based on the result of election.Likely to dominate the campaign, is a dispute between Kabul and Washington over whether some US soldiers should stay behind in Afghanistan when NATO forces withdraw this year.The election will be a key test for the Afghan security force. The Taliban has said it will boycot the election and has threatened to target the campaign. And on Saturday gunmen shot dead two aides of strong contender Abdullah Abdullah, who stood against Karzai in 2009.SOUNDBITE: (English) Sediq Sediqi, Afghan Interior Ministry spokesperson: The Afghan security forces, the Afghan police across the country they are well prepared, they are ready to detect or deter any kind of attack initiated by the enemies. The Taliban threat could keep turnout low on election day. Last time only a third of voters cast their ballots, and this time it may be lower still. Nevertheless, TV debates and rallies are planned for when the campaign heats up.The election takes place in April.[[SUR-TITLE]] Afghanistan[[TITLE]] 2014 election campaign begins[[INTRO]]Campaigns started in Afghanistan on Sunday, for an election whose outcome is seen as make or break for country's future. The vote will be a crucial test of whether Afghanistan can ensure a stable transition, amid a surge in Taliban violence and the withdrawal of NATO troops by the end of the year.[[AUTHOR]] Charlotte Hawkins
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