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Afghan Refugees In Pakistan Start Voter Registration

1 October 2004 -- Registration of Afghan refugees for next week's presidential election in Afghanistan began today in Pakistan.

Officials were reporting a brisk turnout in the southwest, but a slow start in the northwest.

The registration process was reported to be going smoothly.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said it is preparing for up to 800,000 refugees to register at more than 1,600 stations in camps and cities in Pakistan over the coming three days.

Registration centers have been set up in western border areas near most of the refugee camps and in the capital Islamabad.

Pakistani authorities have provided tight security for the registration process following anonymous threats against IOM staff. Supporters of Afghanistan's former Taliban have warned refugees not to vote in the 9 October election.