The presidential and parliamentary polls were originally scheduled for June but were delayed until September for logistical reasons.

  

Now 20 of the 22 political parties registered to contest the elections could not agree on a final date for the poll, said Joint Electoral Management Body head Faruq Wardak.

  

Under Afghan law, the Joint Electoral Management Body that is organising the election must consult with political parties, the government and other interested groups before the poll date is decided.

 

Mixed views

  

Thirteen of the parties want to delay the polls, four want both presidential and parliamentary polls held in September or October, and three want presidential elections this year but the parliamentary vote to be delayed, Wardak said.

 

Security personnel are bearing
the brunt of the surge in attacks

Wardak said he expected the date for the election to be announced "in a week's time".

  

Meanwhile, there have been several killings in a series of violent incidents across the country.

 

Members of the ousted Taliban government said they cut the throat of a Muslim cleric Maulawi Asad Allah after they discovered him propagating Christianity.

 

The group warned foreign aid workers they would face similar treatment if they did the same.

 

Evidence

   

Taliban spokesman Abd al-Latif Hakimi said the cleric was killed in the remote Awdand district of Ghazni province on Wednesday.

   

"We have enough evidence and local accounts to prove that he was involved in the conversion of Muslims to Christianity," he said.    

   

"We have enough evidence and local accounts to prove that he was involved in the conversion of Muslims
to Christianity"
 

Abd al-Latif Hakimi,
Taliban spokesman

In eastern Afghanistan, three more people died after being injured in two bomb blasts in Jalalabad, bringing to four the number of fatalities from the attacks, an official said.

 

Bombs were detonated on Wednesday at two security posts in Jalalabad city, close to the border with Pakistan.

  

In southeastern Zabul province, four suspected Taliban insurgents were killed after they attacked a unit of Afghan commandos, a senior official said.

  

Six Taliban suspects were captured and an Afghan soldier was injured in the attack on Wednesday, General Abdul Wasay said.