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Election security plan ready.

KABUL (PAN): Officials of Interior and Defence Ministries have jointly worked out a comprehensive security plan for upcoming presidential and provincial elections due on August 20. Deputy Director at Interior Ministry Maj. Gen. Muhammad Munir Mangal said here on Sunday security forces would protect presidential candidates and guard offices of the Independent Election Commission.

Security personnel would secure the vehicles shifting ballot papers and other materials from Kabul to provinces,he told a media briefing on security arrangements for the polls.

In accordance with the security plan, police will be in the front line, Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in the second and foreign troops in the third -- if their help is needed.

The strategy would be finalised soon, he promised.

About coordination between national and international forces,Gen. Mangal said the Afghan Air Force had been assigned different tasks in several provinces to secure the process of voting.

ISAF soldiers will also be called in when needed. Since militants were not capable of hand-to-hand fighting with ANA soldiers, they might resort to using roadside bombs,suicide attacks and rockets,he feared.

But the ministry has tasked Special Forces with recovering and defusing remote-controlled landmines and roadside bombs.

Up to 20 roadside and remote-controlled devices were daily recovered, the general said, giving no further information about activities of the Special Forces of his ministry.

Another MoD official Maj. Gen. Sher Muhammad Karimi said discussions on poll security had been going on among Ministries of Defence, Interior,National Security Directorate and UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (NAMA) for three months.

Currently,he admitted, there were no security forces in more than 11 districts of the country.

But he hastened to assure Afghan forces would be ready to maintain security in those districts as soon as IEC started operations there.

As many as 43 people are in the run for presidential polls.

According to IEC officials,more than 3256 hopefuls are running for 420 provincial council seats.

Electioneering will commence from June 16 and end 48 hours ahead of polling. About 7000 polling stations having 28500 booths will be set up.

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Publication:Pajhwok Afghan News (Kabul, Afghanistan)
Date:Jun 8, 2009
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