30 Jan 2009

Afghan election delayed for security reasons

6:05 am on 30 January 2009

A presidential election in Afghanistan, due in May, has been postponed.

The election commission says the decision is due to the security situation and is permitted by the constitution in such circumstances.

The election will now be held on 20 August. The government hopes the arrival of more American troops before then will create a safer environment.

President Barack Obama is considering almost doubling US forces in Afghanistan from 36,000 to more than 60,000.

The BBC reports the delay came as little surprise to many observers. Large parts of the south and east are considered too unsafe for a free and fair vote.

It will be only the second presidential election Afghanistan has held.