|VOICE OF AMERICA|
SLUG: 2-315468 Afghanistan Vote (L)
TITLE=AFGHANISTAN VOTE (L-O)
INTRO: Officials in Afghanistan say a second phase of voter registration for elections in September will begin Saturday. During the two-month drive, election authorities plan to target 30 provinces. Ayaz Gul reports from neighboring Pakistan that poor security in some areas is preventing registration.
TEXT: Afghan officials assisted by the United Nations have so far registered nearly two-million voters in eight major cities.
Chief election official Farooq Wardak told reporters in Kabul (Thursday) that in the second phase starting Saturday, the remaining eight-million eligible voters, who reside in remote parts of Afghanistan, will be registered.
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Those eligible Afghans who want to be part of this political process, who want to be part of determining the future of their country are requested to get registered.
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Mr. Wardak says that poor security conditions are not permitting officials to begin voter registration in four provinces in the south and east (Nooristan, Zabul, Uruzgan and Paktika), where supporters of the deposed Taleban regime have frequently attacked government officials and aid workers in recent months.
Last week, unidentified gunmen killed two aid workers in the southern region of Kandahar. The attack forced the United Nations to temporarily suspend voter registration there.
David Singh is a U-N spokesman in Kabul.
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This and other recent attacks in Kandahar point to the need to make. more forces available to the provincial authorities in order to enable them to uphold the law and facilitate the expansion of reconstruction activities.
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A NATO-led peacekeeping force of some six-thousand-500 soldiers is stationed in the capital Kabul and the northern city of Kunduz to maintain security. Afghan leaders and U-N officials have repeatedly called for the force to expand into other areas of Afghanistan ahead of the September elections to protect voters. (SIGNED)
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