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Two female Western journalists shot in Afghanistan, one dead

A female Western journalist was shot dead and another wounded in Afghanistan's eastern province of Khost on Friday, police said, on the eve of the country's presidential election. "Two female journalists were shot this morning inside a district police headquarters, one has been killed, while the other is seriously wounded," Khost provincial spokesman Mobarez Mohammad Zadran told AFP. Zadran and deputy Khost police chief Yaqub Mandozai said that the gunman was wearing police uniform.

Taliban extend ceasefire, ask Pakistan to meet demands

The Pakistani Taliban on Friday extended a ceasefire by six days to allow the government more time to meet their demands of releasing "non-combatant" prisoners and pulling back soldiers, the militia said in a statement. The government began negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) through intermediaries in February to try to end the Islamists' bloody seven-year insurgency.

German AP photographer shot dead in Afghanistan

An Afghan police commander on Friday shot dead a female German photographer working for the Associated Press on the eve of presidential elections, in an attack that also left a Canadian colleague wounded, the news agency and officials said. The journalists were shot in their car in the Tanai district of Khost province, in the country's east, as they reported on distribution of ballot papers for the election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistan Taliban extend ceasefire for 10 days after prisoner release

By Haji Mujtaba MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban have extended their March ceasefire until April 10, a spokesman said Friday, following the release of a batch of low-level prisoners by the Pakistani government. "Tehreek-e-Taliban is once again showing seriousness and responsibility, and in order to wait for an answer from the government, is extending the ceasefire until April 10," spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said.

Pakistan releases 19 Taliban prisoners

Pakistan's Interior Ministry has released 19 Taliban prisoners who were held on intelligence reports about their involvement in militant activities, a ministry spokesman said Thursday. "It is government policy to release detainees after interrogation if they turn out to be innocent," the spokesman said. They were released between March 21 and 28, he said.

Pakistan Taliban suspend month-long ceasefire but still want talks

By Jibran Ahmad PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani Taliban have not extended a month-long ceasefire but are still open to pursuing peace talks with the Islamabad government, a spokesman for the insurgent movement said Wednesday. Shahidullah Shahid said some Taliban leaders had objected to extending the ceasefire, which lasted during the month of March.

Suicide bomber kills six police at Afghan ministry ahead of vote

KABUL (Reuters) - A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself outside Afghanistan's interior ministry in central Kabul on Wednesday, killing himself and at least six policemen, the latest in a string of attacks ahead of Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election. Taliban insurgents also killed nine civilians including a provincial council candidate in northern Afghanistan, local officials said.

Four police killed in Kabul suicide attack

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the interior ministry in central Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least four police officers just three days before the presidential election, officials said. Afghanistan is on high alert after Taliban insurgents vowed to target officials, election staff and voters in a campaign of violence to demonstrate their opposition to the US-backed polls. "The suicide attacker wearing a military uniform detonated himself near the gate of the ministry killing four policeman," interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.

Kabul's 'Bush bazaar' hopes election will revive business

Kabul shopkeeper Haji Najimullah is furious with the Americans. Not for their long military intervention in Afghanistan, but the fact they are leaving, robbing his market stall of an important supplier. Hundreds of stallholders in Kabul's "Bush bazaar" have made a tidy living selling on "surplus" equipment and rations -- much of it pilfered -- from the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Afghan forces say seize tons of explosives ahead of election

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan security forces have seized more than 22 tons of explosives, enough to make hundreds of bombs, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, four days before a presidential election. Taliban insurgents have declared war on the April 5 vote, calling it a Western-backed sham and threatening to disrupt it. "This discovery will prevent hundreds of bomb attacks and would have a significant impact on the overall security of the elections," Sediq Sediqqi, an Interior Ministry spokesman, told Reuters.
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