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Winning hearts and minds in Lashkar Gah

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 18 August 2009

Lindsey Hilsum accompanies the British ambassador to Afghanistan to the Helmand district of Nadi-Ali to see how Afghans are responding to the election campaign.

Voters show off inked fingers in Afghanistan (picture: Reuters)

Operation Panther's Claw has pushed the Taliban in Helmand province out of the area along the Helmand river between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk.

The British military say it should enable the 80,000 people who live in the area to vote in Thursday's election.

Mark Sedwill, the British Ambassador, told Channel 4 News: "It's perfectly natural that people want to see what the government can do for them compared to what the insurgency offers.

"We need to ensure that the government has that capability to deliver the services that people want, particularly justice, security, and then gradually other services as well - education for their kids, a clinic, economic activity."

Interview: Dr Abdullah Abdullah
If you believe in opinion polls there is only one person on earth who can topple President Karzai - Dr Abdullah Abdullah.

Alex Thomson asked him about the role of international forces in fighting the Taliban and asked whether he thought disillusionment with Karzai and corruption in government was now so great that many Afghans would now prefer the Taliban in power.

Women and marriage in Afghanistan
Without much fanfare and little outcry, Afghanistan has enacted a new law allowing Shiite men to starve their wives if they refuse to have sex.

Earlier this year Gordon Brown and Barack Obama joined the international outcry against an earlier version legalising rape within marriage.

But activists say the revised law isn't much better.

Afghan MP Shinkai Karokhail talks to Alex Thomson live from Kabul.

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