On the eve of the presidential election in Afghanistan, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Aug. 19 asked the people of the country to go out and cast their ballot to help strengthen their democratic institutions. The Secretary-General encourages all Afghan women and men eligible to vote to cast their ballot in the upcoming Presidential and Provincial Council elections on 20 August, said a statement issued by Mr. Bans spokesperson. By participating in these elections, Mr. Ban noted, the Afghan people will help their country strengthen its democratic institutions, bring fresh vigour to its political life and ultimately reaffirm their commitment to contribute to the peace and prosperity of their nation. He also called on all candidates, their supporters, political party agents besides domestic and international observers to continue to cooperate with the Independent Election Commission, other relevant Afghan institutions and international stakeholders supporting electoral preparations to ensure a smooth and successful electoral process. Afghanistan was rocked by Taliban attacks two days before the presidential polls, with suicide blasts killing up to 15 people including UN staff members and a NATO soldier and a rocket slamming into the presidential compound.