News / Asia

Afghan Elections Hailed; Fraud a Concern

A policeman stands guard outside a polling station in Kabul as Afghans wanting to vote queue outside before it opens, April 5, 2014.
A policeman stands guard outside a polling station in Kabul as Afghans wanting to vote queue outside before it opens, April 5, 2014.
Meredith Buel
The ballots are being counted in Afghanistan after an election being hailed as a success.  At least 7 million people voted, despite death threats from the Taliban.  Now analysts are watching closely to see how the votes are tallied and if fraud will damage the outcome.  

It may take weeks before the election results are official.

Preliminary indications suggest a high turnout.  Officials say about 60 percent of the registered 12 million voters went to the polls.

Regional analysts say that showing is far better than expected, and amounts to a sharp rejection of the Taliban.

Nargis Nehan directs Equality for Peace and Democracy, a Kabul civil action group.

“We demonstrated that on Election Day to the rest of the world that actually we believe in democracy, we believe in stability and we said no to war and we said no to conflict and terrorism," said Nehan.

The Taliban had pledged to disrupt the polling by threatening voters and anyone associated with the election.

While insurgents staged attacks in the days before the voting, they did not deter many Afghans from going to the polls.

Despite the turnout, analysts say that for the election to be legitimate in the eyes of Afghans and the international community, it must be perceived as fair.

In the last presidential vote five years ago, there was widespread fraud, which created a political crisis that hurt relations between President Hamid Karzai and the United States.

Davood Moradian is the director of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies in Kabul.

“Unfortunately there is the precedent of the 2009 presidential election.  There is a huge question mark over the extent of the fraud in this election, and the onus is on the Afghan government and the electoral body to establish that this time is different," said Moradian.

Nargis Nehan says some fraud is inevitable, but she says the election still can be credible if the outcome is accepted as valid.

“It is going to be totally unrealistic to say that you are going to have absolutely clean and fair and transparent in the voting result.  But at the same time I see much less chance of corruption and embezzlement in comparison with last time," she said.

U.S. officials are encouraging the winner of the presidential election to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States.

President Karzai has refused to sign the arrangement that would allow some U.S. and NATO troops to stay in the country after the end of this year.

All the leading Afghan candidates for president have indicated they will sign the deal.

Michael Kugelman is the senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center, a policy research organization in Washington.

“By having these troops in Afghanistan, this residual presence after this year, I think there is a psychological dimension.  It would provide a psychological boost to Afghan security forces and to Afghanistan that the international community is not forgetting, and not abandoning Afghanistan," said Kugelman.

Preliminary results for the elections are expected later this month.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs