Two UN Elections Offices Attacked in Afghanistan

A United Nations Election Office located near Kabul, Afghanistan was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades early this morning. Another UN Election Office in Kandahar was attacked a few hours later, killing a policeman and injuring an election worker. According to Reuters, the UN Special Representative to Afghanistan, Jean Arnault, said, “We are facing attacks– direct attacks — with fairly heavy weapons, against the office of the electoral process. [T]his is clearly an attempt at undermining the process and again it stresses the importance of the international community to do more in order to assist this process.”

In response to the recent attacks, Arnault urged that more NATO troops be sent to secure Afghanistan before the first post-Taliban elections in Afghanistan scheduled for September. Arnault also pointed out that the recent attack in the Logar Province was “so close to Kabul and so close to the security umbrella provided by the international community” consisting of only 6,000 NATO-led peacekeepers in Kabul.

The attacks on the UN Election Offices are the latest in a string of violence directed at relief workers, government employees and private contractors in Afghanistan. Already the elections that were to take place in June have been postponed until September due to the lack of security.

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Reuters 6/21/04; Associated Press 6/21/04

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