Afghans vote defying Taliban threats

Afghans vote defying Taliban threats

AFP image

Kabul: 

For only the second time in its history, Afghanistan voted for a new president. There were reports of sporadic violence and voter turnout has been low, though polling was extended for another hour.

President Hamid Karzai is standing to win another term, but this time it's going to be even more difficult.

Defying threats, the brave men and women voted in Afghanistan's presidential election on Thursday. In a country torn apart by violence, these were the historic moments.

In the end, the turnout was patchy, especially after repeated threats from the Taliban and a scattering of bomb attacks through the day.

"We want a secure future, we want our people to be away from this misery. What else do we want? Nothing but peace," said Shrin Dil, a disabled voter.

Fearing that  violence could dampen the turnout, the Foreign Ministry had asked news organisations to avoid "broadcasting any news of violent incidents during voting hours".

While the UN says most of the country's nearly 7,000 polling stations did manage to open despite threats, many have questioned how free and fair a poll like this can be.

For Hamid Karzai, this is a make or break election. He was a favourite of the Bush administration winning over 55 per cent of the vote in 2004. But he has now become increasingly unpopular and faces a tough contest from his former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. With the Taliban getting stronger the world is watching anxiously.

Story First Published: August 20, 2009 20:09 IST

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