World News

Afghanistan Chooses a New Leader

Afghan election workers use donkeys to transport ballot boxes and election materials to polling stations as walking through Mazar-i-Sharif to Kishindih district in Balkh province, Afghanistan, April 3, 2014.Afghan election workers use donkeys to transport ballot boxes and election materials to polling stations as walking through Mazar-i-Sharif to Kishindih district in Balkh province, Afghanistan, April 3, 2014.
x
Afghan election workers use donkeys to transport ballot boxes and election materials to polling stations as walking through Mazar-i-Sharif to Kishindih district in Balkh province, Afghanistan, April 3, 2014.
Afghan election workers use donkeys to transport ballot boxes and election materials to polling stations as walking through Mazar-i-Sharif to Kishindih district in Balkh province, Afghanistan, April 3, 2014.
VOA News
Afghan voters are going to the polls Saturday to choose a new president amid heavy security.

Results are not expected for a few weeks. A second round may be needed if none of the eight candidates gets more than half the vote.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai voted Saturday morning.

Security is tight across the nation because insurgents have promised to disrupt Saturday's vote. The lead-up to the vote has been fraught with violence.  However, there has been little violence reported so far Saturday.

Neighboring Pakistan has closed all border crossings with Afghanistan and deployed additional troops in an attempt to help Afghanistan conduct the election peacefully. Pakistan said the border security arrangements were stepped up in close coordination with Afghan security forces.

On the eve of the vote, one Associated Press journalist (Anja Niedringhaus) was shot dead and another (Kathy Gannon) wounded by a policeman as they reported on election preparations in Afghanistan. Authorities say the police officer was arrested following the incident inside a heavily-guarded district compound in a remote part of the eastern province of Khost.

It was the third deadly attack against journalists in the past three weeks.

The Taliban has vowed to interfere with Saturday's presidential and provincial council vote.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was grieved by the shooting of the journalists and ordered a full investigation.

The United Nations, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists all condemned the attack and expressed their condolences. Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said the shooting highlights the "permanent and ubiquitous danger" for reporters in some regions of Afghanistan and called on authorities "to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of journalists, whose role is crucial at the height of the electoral process."

On March 11, British-Swedish radio journalist Nils Horner was shot and killed at point-blank range on the streets of Kabul. Nine days later, gunmen shot and killed Afghan reporter for the French News agency Sardar Ahmad, as well as his wife and two of his three young children in Kabul's heavily protected Serena Hotel.

On Thursday, Jan Kubis, the U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan, urged Afghan citizens not to let anyone deprive them of their right to vote.

Kubis said there might be difficulties and security problems, but Afghanistan is much better prepared for Saturday's election than it was in 2009.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for recent election-related violence, including Tuesday's suicide bombing outside the Afghan Interior Ministry, killing at least six police officers.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs