Polls Slightly Extended in (Kind of Quiet) Afghan Election
The early picture from the #Afghan09 Twitter hashtag and news reports is that the Afghanistan elections were plagued by “minor attacks,” to use The Associated Press’ phrase, and “sporadic” violence to use Reuters‘, but not major incidents. That’s either a testament to Brig. Gen. Damien Cantwell’s security strategy or the effect of the Afghan government’s ban on election-violence reporting. The aggregated user-generated incident reports hosted by Alive in Afghanistan suggest that violence has been relatively low-scale and Afghan security forces have prevented several attacks and apprehended several attackers. Tentative credit to Cantwell. The independent Afghan commission running the election extended the vote by an hour to accommodate those who turned up later in the day and they’ve just closed polls around now.
But vote fraud and intimidation allegations have been more prominent. Turnout appears — tentatively, again — to be low. And check out this video from Kabul that’s been making the twitter-rounds:
Voting in Kabul, in Dari Summary: First man says: the commission intentionally didn’t bring the machines that were used to punch holes in registration cards so instead they were using scissors to cut the cards and this means people can just put another lamination on it and vote again. other voters agree with him, also mention the poor quality of “indelible ink” that can? be erased.
In Kandahar, Alex Strick van Linschoten tweets: “Kandaharis discover how to clean their ink-stained fingers with bleach …” I wonder how much of that is a necessity against Taliban reprisal threats and how much of that is for vote fraud. I tweeted at Alex; he didn’t reply; I feel crestfallen.
More developments as they develop. News sources to follow: Foreign Policy’s Af-Pak Channel, as Katherine Tiedemann makes her bid to be this election’s Nico Pitney; Alive in Afghanistan; the #afghan09 hashtag; the Pajhwok Afghan news service.