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Last Updated: 09/16/2005Ready to Vote
On the ground in Afghanistan, pre-election tension and hope.
We start an exciting week for
The Afghan and international actors involved in the elections have tried to make the playing field free and fair. A number of candidates have been disqualified for commanding large militias but, as always in the real world, this has not worked out perfectly and men (only men) with blood on their hands and no education will undoubtedly be elected. Ultimately, however, Afghans can decide behind that curtain who will represent them in
As of now, six candidates and a handful of election workers have been killed in the run up to the elections. Given the scope of this exercise, and recent violence , this is not as bad as many had expected.
Logistically, this is an immense and awesome operation. Donkeys, camels, trucks, choppers are setting off under heavy armed guard to distribute 40 million ballots (some are the size of the international herald tribune on a slow day) to polling places all over the country. Hazaras, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Sayeds and Sikhs will probably look for their ethnic leaders on the ballots - not an easy task when most voters cannot read.
Photos and symbols will try to guide them to tick the right box. Some candidates - like "Ahmed," whom I met in his house in
I hope the story of the elections does not get drowned in other big stories this week. Yes there are hurricanes and chief justices, but
Mathieu Lefevre works for the United Nations in Afghanistan.