ISAF confident of maintaining security during Afghan elections

Kabul (dpa) - Despite an increase in attacks by remnants of the extremist Taliban regime the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Thursday assured that terrorists would not be allowed to sabotage the upcoming Afghan parliamentary elections.

Speaking at a press conference the outgoing ISAF commander General Ethem Erdagi told reporters in Kabul that NATO did not envisage any security problems during the upcoming elections.

"Taliban or other terrorist organizations will not be able to sabotage the electoral process," Erdagi said.

He also said that the ISAF plans to bring in an additional 2,000 troops to support the election process. Elections are scheduled for September 18.

Erdagi also pointed out that the ISAF was planning to expand its presence into the southern provinces of Afghanistan, where the insurgents have been most active since their fall in late 2001.

"Several countries, including Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands have already declared their interest, or formal intention, in setting in the south," he said.

"Security in the south is key to the long-term stability of this country," he added.

Meanwhile in Kabul, the U.S. military said it killed one insurgent and wounded another after rebels attacked an army patrol in the southern province of Zabul.

Two other insurgents escaped following the attack in which the rebels targeted the joint U.S.-Afghan patrol with small firearms and rocket propelled grenades.

"The enemy combatants, who were on motorcycles, attacked the patrol but then quickly fled. Coalition forces chased the individuals killing one and wounding the other but were unable to capture the remaining two."

No soldiers were killed or injured in the attack, the statement said, adding that a search was underway for the two escaped insurgents. dpa km sr


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