Police in northeast Afghanistan prevented two bomb attacks Thursday, as the country started voting in pivotal elections, authorities said.
Police early Thursday arrested two Taliban members who had planted a roadside bomb in the Farkhar district of Takhar province, said Zia Mahmudi, the chief police commander in Takhar. In a separate incident, police found explosives planted on a bridge near the city of Takhar, Mahmudi said. The explosives were removed. The Taliban had threatened to derail the presidential and provincial council elections with violence. The government has ordered a ban on media coverage of incidents of violence in an effort to “ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people” at the polls. Watch preparations on election eve » Along with police, about 300,000 Afghan and NATO troops were patrolling parts of the country to help safeguard voters Thursday, according to NATO officials in charge of election security.
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Earlier this week, there were several high-profile suicide bombings and attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Two days before the elections, violence in the capital, Kabul, included a rocket attack that damaged the presidential palace compound. In a separate attack, suicide bombers targeted a coalition military convoy on Jalalabad Road, a major thoroughfare in Kabul. The blast killed seven civilians and wounded 53 others, a defense ministry spokesman told CNN.