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Afghan woman election candidate escapes murder attempt

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KABUL, Sept 14 (AFP) - A woman candidate in Afghanistan's landmark elections this weekend survived an assassination attempt on Wednesday when unknown gunmen opened fire on her in eastern Nuristan province, an official said.

Hawa Alam Nuristani received three bullets in a leg and one in the ear, Abdul Wakil Atak, spokesman for the provincial administration told AFP.

The assassination attempt was made in Waygal district of Nuristan province, he said.

"Hawa Alam Nuristani is a former TV presenter," Atak said but he gave no further details.

Local sources said she criticized Muslim clerics in an interview broadcast by local radio on Tuesday, saying that mullahs in their sermons were telling people not to vote for women.

Afghanistan is holding its first legislative elections in 30 years after almost a quarter-century of conflict.

The Taliban have vowed to sabotage preparations for the polls.

Six candidates have died in political violence since early July, when some 5,800 men and women signed up to run for Sunday's elections.

Some 328 women are standing for parliament's lower house, where 68 of 249 seats have been set aside for females.

Another 237 are running for seats on provincial councils.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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