Most complaints on Afghan elections concerned voter-marking ink, UN says
Kabul, October 20, 2004 - Most of the 285 formal complaints about Afghanistan's election concern ink used to mark voters, the UN mission in the country said today.
For about 180 of the complaints, action has either been taken or has started, or is not required, Manoel de Almeida e Silva, spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said at a press briefing in the capital Kabul.
More than 45 per cent of the complaints to the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) concerned the application of indelible ink, he said. Other grievances were of a general nature about the process itself, dealt with polling personnel, a shortage of polling material, multiple voting, under-age voters or insufficient voter education.
Meanwhile, the three-member panel of experts looking into the complaints were at a counting centre in Gardez, where ballot boxes that were deemed problematic were isolated.
NATO, Tajikistan Sign Transit Agreement for Afghan Operation
Dushanbe, October 20, 2004 - Tajikistan and NATO signed an accord allowing NATO transit through the former Soviet state.
NATO countries use airbases in Tajikistan and two other former Soviet republics, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as a staging post for operations in Afghanistan.
NATO commands the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which provides peacekeeping in the Afghan capital Kabul and has been asked to extend its operations to other parts of the volatile country.
Comprised of 5,000 troops, the new base is Russia's largest outside its own territory. Moscow already had troops stationed in the republic under a broader agreement aimed at helping police Tajikistan's volatile border with Afghanistan.
Russia recently decided to curtail its presence there and to instead establish a permanent Tajik military base, with some analysts seeing this as a response to a recent buildup of U.S. troops in Central Asia linked to Afghanistan.