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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora