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Afghan Vote Rejects Terror, But Violence Claims More Lives

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2004 – Though Afghanistan's Oct. 9 election represented an emphatic rejection of the Taliban and al Qaeda way of life, the violence borne of those beliefs claimed the lives of five Joint Electoral Management Body workers Oct. 20, a U.S. military spokesman said today.

The workers were killed by an improvised explosive device in the Paktika province. One was the community's primary doctor, and his death has had a significant impact on the people there, Army Maj. Scott Nelson, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spokesman, told reporters in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

"Their legacy and the legacy of all who sacrificed so much here will be a free and democratic Afghanistan," he said as he extended condolences to the workers' families.

Based on information from local citizens, Nelson said, a person believed to be responsible for the attack was detained in Yahyakhel. Coalition forces also took possession of a "significant amount of IED-making material" and other evidence that indicated the Taliban was responsible for the attack, he added.

The relative lack of violence during the election process indicates that the Taliban is no longer capable of coordinated, sustained operations, Nelson said. That fact, however, does not mean coalition and Afghan forces can relax, he added. They must continue to expand the reach of security and the rule of law to all areas of the country, Nelson said.

A recently built landing strip in Paktika province is evidence of efforts to expand security, Nelson said. For the first time, a C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift aircraft landed in the province using that runway. The ability to land such aircraft allows for the projection of force into the most remote corners of the country, he said. This, in turn, will allow for more effective cooperative efforts with the Pakistani government as both sides work to rid the region of terrorist supporters, he added.

Coalition forces at a compound near Asadabad in Konar province reported the firing of two rockets close by, Nelson reported, and four rockets were reported to have been fired at a compound northwest of Jalalabad in Nangarhar province early on Oct. 19, Nelson said. There no injuries or damages reported in either incident, he noted.

On Oct. 18, Coalition forces seized a weapons cache near Ghanzi City. The cache, which will be destroyed, included 25,000 14.5 mm rounds, 516 60 mm mortar rounds, 334 82 mm mortar rounds with four mortar tubes and two base plates, 91 rocket-propelled grenades and several other varieties of ammunition, small arms, fuses and rifles.

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan

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