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Submitted by ctv_en_6 on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 10:45
Kabul was battered by attacks on August 18 as a bomb killed five people and a rocket slammed into the presidential compound two days before elections that the Taliban have threatened to disrupt.

Millions of Afghans vote for a president on August 20 for only the second time in history but preparations have been overshadowed by Taliban threats to attack polling stations across the country which cloud to keep voters away in droves.

A suspected suicide car bomb killed five civilians and wounded around 30 on the busy Jalalabad road in Kabul, heath and defence ministry officials said.

The Taliban earlier fired volleys of rockets into the capital and the eastern city of Jalalabad, wounding at least 10 people, mostly women and children.

Afghan and international security officials said two to three rockets were fired into Kabul, including one that the government said hit the edge of the presidential compound, and another explosion that wounded several people.

In the southern, the Taliban’s main powerbase, a suicide bomber walked up to an Afghan military checkpoint and blew himself up killing three soldiers and two civilians in Uruzgan province on August 18, police said.

The NATO-led force announced it would suspend all offensive operations and now focus on protecting the civilian population on election day.

About 300,000 Afghan and foreign troops-every man available, officials say-will be deployed to guard between 6,200 and nearly 7,000 polling centers, with the final figure depending on security risks, authorities say.

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