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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
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 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 Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs