Amid Election, Afghan Jihad Continues

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Turnout was low in Afganistan's elections Thursday as the Taliban threatened to disrupt voting.  
   
Terrorist attacks even closed some polling sites but authorities said they succeeded in stopping other attacks.

A bunch of masked Islamic militants can be seen walking with weapons, some carrying rocket-propelled grenades, in a home video that had all the hallmarks of someone big in the terror world getting ready to speak on camera.

One home video showed all the hallmarks of someone big in the terror world getting ready to speak on camera.

It's nighttime. The images are grainy. The location: unknown.

A bunch of masked Islamic militants can be seen walking with weapons, some carrying rocket-propelled grenades.

In one scene, a man can be seen assembling an IED or Improvised Explosive Device.

Then a few minutes later the face appears.

"We will never take part in a puppet government which is controlled by foreign forces," Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said on the video.  "The Kabul government is made of thieves, corrupt people and criminals."

Hekmatyar is one of America's most wanted men.  He's a well-known Afghan warlord who fought against the Soviets.

He warned that the jihad in Afghanistan will continue until all foreign forces have left the country.

"The foreign forces are why we have war," Hekmatyar said.  "As long as they are here the war won't end and you won't have security either."

Hekmatyar claims to have some 25,000 fighters.  Some of his men are engaging U.S. Marines and Afghan forces in Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

The U.S. military is trying to secure part of the country ahead of Thursday's presidential election.

Tuesday, like the past few days, was bloody across the country.  The Taliban's reign of terror has kept authorities and citizens on edge.  

Seven people died, including two U.N workers in a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul.

"Unfortunately, again, the heaviest numbers of casualties are inflicted to civilians," said Zemarai Bashari of the Afghan Interior Ministry.

Sen. John McCain was in Afghanistan, Tuesday, visiting with U.S. troops, along with several other U.S. politicians.

"It seems to me that  the only organization in Afghanistan that wants to have an election disrupted and unfair is the Taliban," McCain said.

The Taliban have vowed to disrupt Thursday's election and are demanding that Afghans boycott the polls.

Despite the threats, Afghan officials sounded a tone of resolve.

"The people of Afghanistan will not let this opportunity to decide their future leadership go from them," said Afghan presidential spokesman Humayum Hamidzadi.

Despite the concerns that threats by the Taliban may affect the voting, election officials predict that 85 to 90 percent of Afghans voters should be able to go to the polls.

*Original Broadcast Date: August 18, 2009.

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