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14 June 2004 -- The U.S. military said today that Afghan elections should go ahead in September, despite security problems.

Violence targeting election teams and delays in voter registration have cast doubt on the timetable.

According to the United Nations, some 3.6 million of the estimated 10 million eligible Afghans have registered so far for the vote, already delayed from June because of logistical and security problems.

But U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Tucker Mansager said the U.S.-led coalition "stands firmly" behind the decision to hold the election in September.

Mansager said U.S. troops, NATO-led peacekeepers -- who are expected to expand north from their current base of operations in Kabul -- and Afghan security forces will find "innovative ways" to protect the vote. He did not give details.

(AP)
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