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Last updated: 20 august, 2009 - 11:16 GMT

Afghan election: security by region

A burqa-clad Afghan woman casts her vote at a polling station in Kabul on August 20, 2009

On the eve of Afghanistan's presidential election on Thursday, a snapshot survey by the BBC's Afghan service suggests the government has limited or no control in just over 30% of the country.

Pie chart showing security levels of regions in Afghanistan

The survey was based on assessments by reporters working in the field for the service.

They looked at the situation in all 34 of Afghanistan's provinces over the past week.

Their conclusions were based on their own observations as well as interviews with local people and provincial council officials.

The snapshot concluded that only seven provinces out of a total of 34 were fully under government control.

The reporters said that 9 districts out of a total of 368 were out of the government's reach, and could be described as places where the government provided no security or services.

Most of those districts are in the south, where the Taliban insurgency has been at its worst.

The reporters said that in 125 (34%) districts across Afghanistan, the government controls the main town, but not all the outlying areas.

Security situation in Afghan regions

President Karzai's spokesman Humayun Hamidzade rejected the BBC's findings, but last month the Afghan Defence Ministry said that 9 districts in the south of the country were out of it's control.

The Taliban have threatened to disrupt Thursday's vote.

Afghan and international forces have been carrying out major anti-insurgency operations in the south to allow it to go ahead.

The BBC's Oliver Conway examines the situation on polling day.

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First broadcast 20 August 2009

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