News

    Afghans Brave Violence to Vote for President

    Millions of Afghans braved threats of Taliban attacks on polling stations and retaliation against voters to go to the polls Thursday.  The legitimacy of the election is beholden to an acceptable turnout and the reported level of wholesale vote-buying, phantom voters and other acts of electoral corruption.  Voting is taking place amid scattered explosions in the capital and other parts of the country.

    Violence from anti-government elements was anticipated, even expected.

    So, for the country's 17 million registered voters, the biggest Election Day choice may have been whether to exercise their democratic right and risk their lives or play it safe and stay home.

    Amir Khan, voting at a Kabul mosque, says the Taliban threats to disrupt the election and chop off fingers of voters did not deter him.

    Khan says he is not at all fearful, because the government has good control of security and thus he has no reason to fear the Taliban.

    At some Kabul polling stations, few people were seen in line.  In some rural areas, under the control of the insurgents, the voting centers could not open - that despite the massive security effort involving hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and police, supported by tens of thousands of foreign troops

    Also on hand - thousands of monitors and observers from various domestic and international organizations.

    Former U.S. Congressman Jim Moody toured polling places in Kabul as an observer for Democracy International. He tells VOA News what he saw appeared "very smooth and orderly."

    "No election is perfect, including in the United States.  We've had our problems," said Moody.  "Given the circumstances that this country is still at war, there's tremendous internal conflict, I think we really have to congratulate the Afghan people and the Afghan authorities."   

    After their election identity card is checked and their fingers are inked, voters are given a multi-page ballot.  At the top of it,  the many selections for president, including the incumbent Hamid Karzai.  As most Afghans cannot read, there are party symbols and photographs of the candidates to help voters find their choice.

    Student Ramin Karimi says he made his decision, based on which candidate can bring peace to the country.

    Karimi tells VOA he wants a president who will end war, do a good job and rescue Afghanistan from its present condition.

    The logistical challenges of everyday life here are evident in the running of this election.  Pack animals were the only way to get ballots to some remote locations.  Army helicopters were used to drop materials at other.  Satellite telephones are being used in some villages to relay vote totals back to the capital.

    There is little likelihood of anyone declaring the election "free and fair" by the standards of a mature Western democracy. The United Nations and others are hoping the Afghan and international observer groups will merely declare a "credible" election for a fledgling Third World democracy battling an insurgency and that the results will be accepted by the major participants. 

    The Taliban have already made clear their verdict - voting "No" to democracy through their acts of intimidation and violence.

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora