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    Offensive begins to boost pre-poll security

    KUNDUZ CITY (Pajhwok): Security officials in northwestern Kunduz province on Thursday said a military operation had been launched to bolster security in the build-up to the crucial round of election.

    A Taliban shadow district chief and four other militants were killed and six others injured in Archi district during the operation codenamed “Zulfiqar-2” involving the Afghan army, police (ANP) and Special Forces.

    A spokesman for the 209th Military Corps, Maj. Ghulam Hazrat Karimi, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Taliban-designated chief for Khwaja Ghar district and four other militants were killed, and four suspected insurgents arrested so far during the offensive.

    A Taliban commander, Mullah Nasar, was also among the dead, he said.

    A day earlier, Kunduz Governor Ghulam Sakhi Baghlani and residents said a large number of Tajikistani, Uzbekistani, Chechen and other foreign militants had sneaked into Dasht-i-Archi to disrupt the polls.

    Fazal Rahman, a local, said the rebels should stop fighting as farmers were busy harvesting their crops. “I am worried all my crops will be damaged if violence continues,”

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