AT 2 p.m. on Afghanistan’s first Election Day, I was visiting a polling place in Mazar-I-Sherif when a colleague called from Kabul: “Fifteen of the 16 candidates have requested that the election be stopped. They say that people are voting more than once, because the indelible ink doesn’t work. There are also areas where they ran out of ballots.”
My heart sank. The most important aspect of this election was that Afghans finally had something to be proud of politically. They had shown the world they could do something besides kill each other.
You could see it in the way they carried themselves as they left the UNICEF tents where most of the men voted. You could see it in the excitement of the women waiting to enter their polling places in school buildings. Even the 7-year-old in the family I was staying with understood what an election was. (more…)