Supporters of the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, are threatening to take up arms and unleash a wave of violence across the nation if the election is “stolen” and their candidate does not win, The Independent reported Tuesday. Widespread reports of fraud are adding to the tension.
The Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that “Sri Lanka on Wednesday freed nearly 600 Hindu and Catholic priests who were held in internment camps with ethnic Tamils displaced by fighting between troops and separatist rebels, officials said. The clergy were allowed to leave the camps in the northern district of Vavuniya, where 300,000 inmates are detained under tight security to be screened for remaining Tamil Tiger rebels.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a four-day European tour in London on August 25, meeting with Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The two leaders reportedly discussed Jewish settlements (including those in East Jerusalem) and Iran's nuclear program.
With about 10 percent of the votes in Afghanistan's presidential election having been counted on August 25, incumbent President Hamid Karzai and his leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah each had approximately 40 percent of the nationwide vote, with 40.6 percent (212,927 votes) for Karzai and 38.7 percent (202,889 votes) for Abdullah.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" program on August 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said the situation in Afghanistan "is serious and it is deteriorating." Mullen added: "I've said that over the last couple of years, that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated. Their tactics just in my recent visits out there and talking with our troops certainly indicate that."