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UN Highlights Security Of Afghan Polls

11 July 2004 -- The United Nations says delaying Afghanistan's parliamentary elections six months after an upcoming presidential poll would allow time to secure a free and fair vote.

The UN's envoy to Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, made his remarks today shortly after a bomb blast killed at least five people and wounded 10 others in the western Afghan city of Herat.

Arnault said such attacks underscore the risks to the polls, and shows the necessity of additional foreign troops in the country.

Afghan and UN officials said on 9 July that Afghanistan's presidential polls will be held on 9 October, but that the parliamentary polls, originally supposed to be held simultaneously, will be held in April.