08/18/2009, 00.00
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Afghanistan: rocket attack on Presidential Palace in Kabul

The Taliban strike two days before the elections. The police headquarters also targeted. No dead and only material damage. In Pakistan, Islamabad’s army claims to have arrested, the spokesman of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan, the right arm of Baitullah Mehsud.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – Rocket attacks on the presidential palace in Kabul and the nearby headquarters of the police. Two days before presidential elections the Taliban continue their attack on the capital of Afghanistan with the declared intent of disrupting the vote.

Saturday a car bomb was detonated in the compound of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) of NATO, causing seven deaths and over 90 injured. The rockets launched this morning caused no fatalities, but only structural damage to the building and the offices of the police.

According to analysts the forecasts put outgoing President Hamid Karzai in the lead with polls assigning him up to 45% of votes. This is a substantial figure compared to 20% of the votes estimated for his main competitor, the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, but not enough for Karzai to win outright a second presidential term for which 50% of preferences is necessary.

On the Pakistani front the war against the Taliban registered a small success against the Islamist guerrillas. The army in Islamabad says on August 17 it arrested Maulvi Omar, alleged spokesman for the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan, and the right arm of the leader Baitullah Mehsud  who was declared dead August 5, a victim of a targeted U.S. missile attack.

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More civilian deaths as Talibans and multinational forces clash
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