News / Asia

Taliban Threatens Violence as Afghans Prepare to Vote

Taliban Threatens Violence as Afghans Prepare to Votei
X
Meredith Buel
June 12, 2014 12:39 AM
Voters in Afghanistan go to the polls Saturday, June 14 for the presidential runoff election that is expected to pave the way for the nation’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power. But the election comes during a violent insurgency, and Taliban militants are threatening to disrupt the polls. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Meredith Buel
Voters in Afghanistan go to the polls Saturday, June 14 for the presidential runoff election that is expected to pave the way for the nation’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power.  But the election comes during a violent insurgency, and Taliban militants are threatening to disrupt the polls.

Ignoring intimidation from the Taliban, large crowds of Afghans are turning out for campaign rallies.
Abdullah Abdullah
 
  • Received 45 percent of vote in first round of presidential election
  • Served as Hamid Karzai's foreign minister
  • Ran for president in 2009
  • Was an eye doctor
  • Father is Pashtun, mother is Tajik

Ashraf Ghani
 
  • Received 32 percent of vote in first round of presidential election
  • Served as Hamid Karzai's finance minister
  • Ran for president in 2009
  • Former World Bank official and professor at Johns Hopkins University
  • Pashtun
Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah won 45 percent of the vote in the first round and is considered the front-runner.

However, he is of mixed Tajik and Pashtun heritage in a country where rulers traditionally have come from the Pashtun community, the nation’s largest.

Challenging Abdullah is former World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani, who garnered 32 percent of the first round vote.

Ghani is a Pashtun who has roots in eastern Afghanistan.

While both candidates have been campaigning enthusiastically, in Afghanistan violence is never very far away.

Just days before the election, Abdullah narrowly escaped assassination when two bombs struck his convoy.

The Afghan constitution says new elections must be held in the event of a candidate’s death.

South Asia expert Christine Fair:

“So I am going to be holding my breath until we actually get to the runoff and there is a winner, because, at any point until the president is announced the entire exercise can be obviated by an assassination of one of the candidates," said Fair.

The winner of the second round will replace President Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from running for re-election.

The vote comes at a pivotal time, as the international community prepares to withdraw combat forces by the end of this year.

Some U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan if the country’s next president signs a Bilateral Security Agreement with Washington.

President Karzai has refused to sign the deal.

But both Abdullah and Ghani have pledged to approve it.

“These are the things that help with the perception of security and also creating certainty rather than the shadow of uncertainty which is there," said Abdullah.

President Karzai has frequently blamed Pakistan for supporting militant groups that have launched brazen attacks in Afghanistan.

Analysts say the current candidates are likely to have a more positive relationship with Islamabad.

Ashraf Ghani:

“The goal is a special relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan that would resemble that of France and Germany after World War II," said Ghani.

The U.S. and NATO have trained Afghan security forces.

But analysts say there still must be reconciliation between the government and the Taliban.

Christine Fair:

“If this election goes forward and there isn’t an endgame to bring the Taliban to the table, I really don’t see this being a lasting peace," she said.

Currently about 30,000 U.S. soldiers are in Afghanistan.

About 2,200 Americans have died in the conflict.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Remain Engaged in Afghan Peace Talks

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Daniel Feldman recently met with Pakistani and Afghan officials as talks were disrupted by news of Taliban chief Mullah Omar's death More

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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs