Kidnapped Afghan campaign workers found dead

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The Independent Online

Afghan villagers today found the bodies of five kidnapped campaign workers for a parliamentary candidate in the western province of Herat.

District chief Nasar Ahmad Popul said residents of Herat's Adraskan district reported finding the bodies.

The five were snatched by armed men who stopped their two-vehicle convoy on Wednesday. Five others travelling in the vehicles were set free, according to a man who answered the phone at the home of candidate Fawzya Galani and declined to give his name.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killings, although Taliban insurgents have been waging a campaign of murder and intimidation in hopes of sabotaging the September 18 polls.

Ms Galani may be a particular target of insurgents because she is one of only a few female candidates for the 249 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Also in Herat, parliamentary candidate Abdul Manan was shot and killed yesterday on his way to a mosque by an attacker on a motorbike.

A number of other candidates and their assistants have been killed, injured or threatened around the country.

Many Afghans say they do not plan to take part in the voting, either because of safety concerns or cynicism with ineffective government and disgust over widespread corruption.

Electoral officials plan to open 5,897 polling sites for the parliamentary elections, having discarded more than 900 proposed venues because army and police could not guarantee security. Last year, 6,167 voting centres nominally operated during presidential polls.

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