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U.S. To Enhance Afghan Security Ahead Of Vote

(file photo) 13 July 2004 -- The U.S. military says it is launching a new operation in Afghanistan to enhance security during the run-up to the presidential election, planned for 9 October.

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General David Barno, told AP that the operation is now getting under way. He said some 17,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will coordinate with the United Nations, which is helping to organize the election, to provide security before and during the vote.

Also today, regional commanders met with Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Fahim to discuss security issues ahead of the elections. The commanders included powerful northern warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad, who said he came to express his readiness for the election process.

Meanwhile, more violent incidents were reported, linked to remaining loyalists of the Taliban regime. Officials in Kandahar Province and Ghazni Province said that two police chiefs and one other person were killed in suspected Taliban attacks over the past day.