Read also: Watching the Afghan Elections
Thursday’s elections in Afghanistan are a pivotal moment in the country’s political transition. There’s a great deal of uncertainty here in Kabul about what might happen in the next few days. Taliban attacks and threats over the past few days, as well as the possibility of violence on Election Day and post-election violence sparked by disputes over the results, could raise questions about the legitimacy of the process.
I met with Afghan election administration officials on the eve of the elections around Kabul and north of the capital city in the Panjshir Valley, a relatively peaceful part of the country. The election process continues despite increased violence in recent weeks—July was the deadliest month in Afghanistan since 2001 for U.S. troops, and Afghan civilian deaths increased 24 percent compared to last year, according to a new United Nations report. No one is sure what to expect in the elections, but the hope among international observers such as the delegation I am with organized by Democracy International (see DI’s special Afghanistan election website here: http://democracyinternational.com/afghanistan/) is that the Afghan people will have an opportunity to express their will at the ballot box tomorrow.
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