Afghans set to vote despite Taliban threats, corruption

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans are to return to the polls for parliamentary elections on Saturday, hoping to bring change to a corrupt government that has lost nearly half the country to the Taliban.

In the eight years since the last parliamentary elections, the Taliban have carried out near-daily attacks on security forces, seizing large swathes of land and threatening major cities. Also, an Islamic State affiliate has launched bombings targeting the country’s Shiite minority, killing hundreds.

Both groups have threatened to attack anyone taking part in the vote.

In areas where the government still provides relative security, Afghans face different challenges, including widespread corruption. Ultraconservative clerics blame Afghanistan’s many ills on years of Western influence, threatening to roll back the limited gains made by women and civil society since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

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