Afghan President Hamid Karzai campaigned on Tuesday for the first time since an assassination attempt last month, telling cheering supporters a historic vote in four days would be a turning point for the war-torn nation.
While the president and his main rivals spread out ahead of Saturday's presidential election, there were reports of at least 12 people killed by mines in two separate incidents.
Seven policemen were killed when their vehicle drove over a land mine in the southern province of Kandahar, while in neighboring Zabul province the governor said six civilians were killed by a land mine, according to reports from the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/351/12069_afghanistan.html ' target=_blank>Afghan Islamic Press news agency.
The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/17/42209.html ' target=_blank>Taliban claimed responsibility for the Zabul attack, but said the victims were five soldiers, the news agency said, Reuters informed.
According to the Eurasianet, Karzai appears headed for victory in the October 9 presidential vote. But given the fact that Karzai’s administration exerts little authority beyond Kabul, some observers are warning the election could mark what the group &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2002/08/14/34460.html ' target=_blank>Human Rights Watch (HRW) characterizes as a "hollow victory" for Afghanistan’s democratization process.