The Taliban on Monday vowed to target Afghanistan's presidential election, urging their fighters to attack polling staff, voters and security forces before the April 5 vote to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai. Previous Afghan elections have been badly marred by violence, with at least 31 civilians and 26 soldiers and police killed on polling day alone in 2009 as the Islamist militants displayed their opposition to the US-backed polls. NATO combat troops will withdraw from the country by the end of 2014 after 13 years of fighting a fierce Islamist insurgency that erupted when the Taliban were ousted from power after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. "We have given orders to all our mujahideen to use all force at their disposal to disrupt these upcoming sham elections -- to target all workers, activists, callers, security apparatus and offices," the Taliban said in an emailed statement.
By Nelson Renteria and Michael O'Boyle SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - A former Marxist guerrilla leader claimed victory in El Salvador's presidential election on Sunday as results showed him with a very thin lead but his conservative rival warned of fraud and insisted he was the winner. Salvador Sanchez Ceren of the ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which fought a series of U.S.-backed governments in a 1980-1992 civil war, had 50.11 percent of the vote with returns in from 99.95 percent of polling stations. His right-wing challenger Norman Quijano, a former mayor of San Salvador, had 49.89 percent in the run-off vote, which was called after Sanchez Ceren fell just short of a first-round victory last month. "We won the first round, and now we have won again in the second," Sanchez Ceren told supporters late on Sunday night.