News

    Afghan Presidential Campaign Ends

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Voters in Afghanistan go to the polls Thursday to decide whether to re-elect President Hamid Karzai to another five year term or choose one of about than 30 other candidates who say they have a plan to lead the impoverished country out of eight years of war. Mr. Karzai appears to be in the lead, but many observers are focused on whether Afghans will be able to carry-out a credible election.

    Afghanistan's southern Zabul province is regularly hit by Taliban attacks, but residents in the main city say they are planning to participate in Thursday's poll - despite threats from militants.

    Shopkeeper Shah Wali says that while he plans to vote, others in more remote areas may not.

    He says we are proud to vote in the presidential and local council elections, but we regret that there is no security. He says people are doubtful that the election will be held in some districts.

    It remains unclear how many registered voters will participate. Taliban forces are now believed to exert influence over as much as half of the country, but election officials have predicted that perhaps 90 percent of polling stations will be open.

    In turbulent Zabul province, governor Ashraf Nassiri says he is optimistic about voter turnout.

    He says he thinks the security situation is not as bad as people think. Security forces are, he says, in all districts in the area and they are in control.

    Thousands of additional U.S. and NATO troops are in Afghanistan to help secure the polls. But western officials worry that if Taliban threats severely dampen turnout, it could jeopardize the election's credibility.

    With security risks high, even U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry is reluctant to urge people to go out to vote.

    "We know that on election, day, that there won't be perfect security out there, so I have no advice to give to the Afghan common citizen, common man," said Ambassador Eikenberry. "That would be his or her own decision. But with reassurance to everyone that the very strongest efforts are being made every day to try to provide the best security environment possible."

    Poor security across much of Afghanistan has meant few political rallies outside of Kabul, making it difficult for lesser-known candidates to campaign nationally.

    With the country still hobbled by the ongoing war, the broken economy and a weak central government, opponents largely blame the situation on corruption and mismanagement under Mr. Karzai.

    But some voters are wary about changing presidents in the middle of a war. A resident of Jalalabad says he is still supporting Mr. Karzai.

    He says Karzai inherited a country in ruins and he has put that country on a path to rebuilding. He says we haven't found any other candidate who can complete what Karzai started.

    As the incumbent, Mr. Karzai enjoys an enormous advantage over his rivals and many have accused him of abusing his office to ensure his re-election. Independent observers say that although they are expecting some fraud, they hope it remains relatively minor and does not threaten the credibility of the vote.  

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora