| GEO World|
| 21 killed in attacks as Afghan vote looms|
| Updated at: 0316 PST, Wednesday, August 19, 2009|
KABUL: Taliban attacks rocked Afghanistan Tuesday two days before landmark presidential elections, claiming at least 21 lives as a rocket slammed into the presidential compound in Kabul.
The violence, striking at the heart of the capital, followed renewed Taliban threats to sabotage Thursday's ballot in which 17 million Afghans are eligible to vote, amid heightened fears they could stay away.
But the NATO-led coalition said despite a spike in insurgent strikes, less than one percent of polling stations are at risk of being attacked.
A suicide car bomb Tuesday targeted a NATO convoy on a busy road near a US military base and a market, killing 10 people including a NATO soldier, and wounding more than 50, officials said.
"Updated reports indicate that those killed were one ISAF service member, seven Afghan civilians and two Afghan civilian employees of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan," the NATO alliance said in a statement.
"Two ISAF service members and 53 Afghan civilians were also wounded in the incident," the International Security Assistance Force said.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed distress over the death of two UN staff in the second deadly suicide attack targeting NATO in Kabul in two days.