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Abdullah supporters arrested
By: Khalil Fitri, Date: 17/08/2009

KABUL (PAN): Supporters of President Hamid Karzai's key challenger Dr. Abdullah Abdullah have been arrested for air-dropping pamphlets from two helicopters in a prohibited area of Kabul, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.
The arrests came this afternoon after the choppers were forced to land by Afghan border police, said a joint statement from the Defence and Interior Ministries and the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
The helicopters were dropping posters of Dr. Abdullah without informing or coordinating with national security forces, according to the statement.
Brig. Gen. Muhammad Asif Jabarkhel, border police commander, told Pajhwok that 14 people including four pilots and two engineers were apprehended. The helicopters were owned by Supreme Food Company, he revealed.
Following the incident, a formal complaint letter seeking an inquiry was sent to Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) official Fahim Hakim confirmed to Pajhwok Afghan News they had received the complaint.
Hakim added that the ECC does not know yet who used the copters and where. Information will be released after an investigation was conducted.
Dr. Abdullah's campaign manager, Syed Fazal Hussein Sancharaki, said the detainees included two pilots, a cameraman and a reporter. He denounced the arrests as illegal.
"The government is intolerant of election campaigns and seeks to curb electioneering by such actions," alleged Sancharaki. He said the helicopters belonging to a private company were dropping Abdullah's posters over the Kabul Stadium.
He explained the choppers flew neither over the Presidential Palace nor the Defence Ministry and Abdullah's posters might have been carried there by the wind.
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