McClatchy reports Afghan vote underway amid tension over Taliban threats. “Protected by tens of thousands of U.S.-led international troops and Afghan security forces, Afghans voted Thursday for a new president for only the second time in their history in an election held under the threat of vote-rigging and the Taliban’s vow to attack polling stations.”
The Los Angeles Times adds Afghans in Kabul brush aside jitters to cast ballots. “On the eve of the vote, there was ample reason for nervousness. At least six election workers died in attacks by insurgents. Six more American troop deaths were reported in Afghanistan’s volatile south. And Taliban fighters engaged in an hours-long shootout with police in the heart of the capital, a clash that left three militants dead.”
Meanwhile the Washington Independent reports of the Second major poll this month finds a big drop in support for Afghanistan war. “A narrow majority of 51 percent to 47 percent said the war was not worth fighting.”
The NY Times reports the CIA hired Blackwater to carryout assassinations. “The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials… The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects.”
“Officials said the C.I.A. did not have a formal contract with Blackwater for this program but instead had individual agreements with top company officials, including the founder, Erik D. Prince”.
Four at Four continues with Swiss bank deal, fake letters to Congress, and endangered species selection.