As the election fervor increases in the insurgency-hit Afghanistan, security threats during the electoral process also cause concerns among the public, the government and the international community.
While talking to media about the security roundup of last week, spokesman of Afghan Interior Ministry Zamarai Bashari alarmed that militants' attacks have been increased during the past week.
He said there has been a rapid increase of 18 percent in the attacks compared to last week.
Militants carried out about 101 terrorist attacks in the volatile south, particularly in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand and Ghazni, added Bashari.
During last week, 108 militants died in these attacks, which also left about 35 civilians dead and 75 others injured.
Interior Ministry said it showed an increase of 28 percent in casualties.
The alarming statistics of the Interior Ministry comes at a time when a massive military operation is going on in the southern Taliban stronghold of Helmand province, where 4,000 U.S. Marines and 650 Afghan troops are fighting against insurgents who controlled about five districts of the province.
Launched on July 2, the operation has reached its sixth day. Yet no prominent Taliban militants have been reported killed or arrested.
The operation is aimed at clearing the districts from Taliban insurgents to ensure the ground for peaceful elections set for August 20 this year.
Afghan Defense Ministry in Kabul said the forces once clearing the area, voter registration process would be started.
But creating an atmosphere of election like Kabul or some other peaceful cities seems less likely to happen in the volatile southern provinces.
Security threats are not only serious concerns in southern and eastern insurgency-hit provinces, but also in some northern provinces.
In a rare happening last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the peaceful Mazar-e-Sharif city causing panic among people.
The incident occurred at a time, when at the same time of the attack, a massive election rally was being held in the historic Ali's Shrine where about 70,000 masses participated in the election rally.
Daily Outlook reported two suicide bombers were arrested from near the rally on July 3, while two others managed to escape.
Taliban militants have already threatened to disrupt the electoral process. The outfit's purported spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said any process that is supported by the U.S. will be attacked.
The rapid increase in attacks by militants raises concerns of common Afghans towards the election process.
It has been the security threat, that none of the prominent presidential candidates have yet visited the southern or eastern provinces for election campaigns.
Almost all the public gatherings and campaigning rallies have so far taken place in the capital Kabul and relatively peaceful cities, but often inside surrounded walls of hotels or compounds, mostly due to security reasons.
The Presidential and Provincial Council elections scheduled for August 20 would be held amid tight security as the U.S. and several nations pledged to send in additional troops in Afghanistan ahead of election.
The people of war-ravaged Afghanistan are going to vote for the second time after three decades of war and civil strife.
Analysts are of the view that in such an environment when militancy is on rise as the election date is approaching, it will be very challenging for the Afghan Government and Independent Election Commission to ensure high turnout in the volatile southern and eastern provinces.
(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2009)