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Voting in the Afghan presidential election last October 17 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan today launched a month-long campaign period for September's landmark parliamentary and local elections.

A sponsored advertisement system supervised by an independent media commission will allow each candidate a slot on television and radio, so the candidates can put their message across.

On 18 September, some 6,000 candidates will stand for a 249-seat lower house of parliament and 34 provincial councils across the country.

Election organizers say they are optimistic that campaigning and the vote will go ahead without major disruptions despite the continuing violence.

However Human Rights Watch said in a report Afghanistan must do more to protect the approximately 600 women standing the elections from attacks and threats by the Taliban and regional warlords.

(AFP/dpa/AP)
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