Citizens of Afghanistan head to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president. A successful vote will be a huge milestone for the country - the first time in its history that power is transferred democratically.
The International Criminal Court's prosecutor has requested a full investigation in Afghanistan. US and Afghan military personnel could be indicted, along with Taliban members, for committing crimes against humanity.
Taliban attacks on checkpoints in the Afghan provinces of Kandahar and Farah have left dozens of security personnel dead. The night-time assaults coincide with a survey showing Afghans deeply worried about their safety.
The secretary of state made a short visit to Afghanistan to discuss the new US policy in South Asia. He told Afghan leaders he was open to peace with the Taliban if they accepted military defeat.
Germany is a highly-coveted partner on the international stage. As a respected global power, it needs a strong mandate from the upcoming elections, says former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
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