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Sep 18th, 2010

Afghans Vote Despite Attacks by Taliban

Hundreds of polling stations stay closed, due to security concerns

An Afghan boy who was wounded after a rocket attack in Kunar province is treated at a hospital in Jalalabad on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. Attacks hit Afghanistan’s parliamentary election, killing several people. (Photo credit: Parwiz / Reuters)

September 18, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Despite Taliban rocket strikes and bombings, Afghans voted for a new parliament Saturday, the first election since a fraud-marred presidential ballot last year cast doubt on the legitimacy of the embattled government.

As officials tally votes over the next few days, the real test begins: Afghans will have to decide whether to accept the results as legitimate despite a modest turnout and early evidence of fraud.

The Taliban had pledged to disrupt the vote and launched attacks starting with a rocket fired into the capital before dawn. The insurgent group followed with a series of morning rocket strikes that hit major cities just as people were going to the polls — or weighing whether to risk it.

At least 11 civilians and three police officers were killed, according to the Interior Ministry. The governor of Kandahar province survived a bombing as he drove between voting sites. In all, there were 33 bomb explosions and 63 rocket attacks, said Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. He said 27 Taliban were killed Saturday.

[9/19/2010 AP update: At least 21 civilians and nine police officers were killed during the voting, according to the election commission and the Interior Ministry, amid dozens of bombings and rocket attacks. In addition, two pollworkers were kidnapped in northern Balkh province and their bodies were discovered Sunday, Afghan election commission chairman Fazel Ahmad Manawi told reporters.]

Yet there appeared to be less violence than during the last election, when more than 30 civilians were killed and a group of insurgents attacked Kabul. …

Defense Minister Wardak described the turnout as “low.” He said that fear of attacks and the difficulty of getting to polling stations were likely reasons people stayed home. …

A very low turnout — particularly in provinces wracked by the insurgency — could hurt the credibility of the vote in a country where democratic rule has yet to take deep root after decades of war. If residents reject results outright it could inflame ethnic tensions and complicate the transition to a new parliament. …

A host of allegations of fraud and election worker misconduct piled up in the first few hours of the vote. …

Full story


9/20/10 Update

‘Serious concern’ over fraud at Afghan elections (AP, Sept. 19, 2010)

Image: Elections in Afghanistan
An Afghan election worker hauls ballot boxes at Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission in Kabul on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Afghan election observers said they had serious concerns about the legitimacy of Saturday’s parliamentary balloting as officials began Sunday to tally the results, a process that could take months. (Photo credit: S. Sabawoon / EPA)


Related report on this site

2009 Afghan Presidential Election (Aug. 20, 2009)

At least 26 killed as Afghans vote; Taliban militants cut off Afghan voters’ fingers

Burqa-clad women display ID cards as they queue to vote in Kandahar on Thursday.
Burqa-clad women display ID cards as they queue to vote in Kandahar on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009. (Photo credit: CNN — AFP / Getty Images)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — September 18, 2009

Bomb-Throwing Bachmann

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann: New “face and shrill voice” of the GOP?

One year ago today, I featured a Politico report that elements within the GOP were concerned that the “bomb-throwing” Rep. Michele Bachmann might be inflicting damage on the party’s reputation with her incessant incendiary rhetoric.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — September 18, 2008

After the Primary Election: Day 9

Image: Smoke outside the U.S. embassy in San'a, Yemen
Foreign fighters return home from Iraq to launch new attacks against U.S. targets. Smoke billows from the U.S. Embassy complex in San’a, Yemen, after a deadly car bombing on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Yemen News Agency)

Two years ago today, on the ninth day after losing my 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, in line with my focus on national security, I reported that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 turned that country into a terrorist training ground for jihadists around the world, with militants converging on Iraq to learn increasingly sophisticated insurgency techniques and then exporting those tactics to other hotspots, including Afghanistan, and turning the war against terror “global” in a way not foreseen by the Bush administration.

2 Responses to “Afghan Vote Marred by Violence”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Colin Powell on Afghan Policy Says:

    […] The flawed election of Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, in which widespread fraud and violence were reported, has only underscored the challenges facing U.S. and other NATO nations as they decide how long they will keep troops in Afghanistan. […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » September 18, 2011 Says:

    […] Afghan Vote Marred by Violence […]

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