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The Los Angeles Times

By LAURA KING

Kabul bombing seen as warning to Afghan voters

With the car bombing outside a NATO base in the capital just days before national elections, militants appear to be signaling that they can strike at will, even in heavily guarded areas.

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan – The thunderous explosion Saturday that targeted Western military headquarters in the heart of Kabul carried an ominous message aimed at ordinary Afghans just five days before national elections: Vote at your peril.

The audacious suicide car bombing, which killed at least seven people and injured nearly 100, appeared designed to signal that insurgents can strike at will even in the capital’s most tightly guarded districts.

“The intent here is clear,” said Aziz Rafiee, executive director of the Afghan Civil Society Forum. “To give the impression, as we approach the vote, that measures taken for security by the Afghan government and the international community are fragile.”

President Hamid Karzai, facing a tough challenge in Thursday’s presidential and provincial assembly balloting, declared that “enemies of Afghanistan . . . are trying to create fear among the people as we get close to the election.” He predicted that people would defy the Taliban’s campaign of intimidation and go to the polls. (more…)

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