Parliamentary elections begin in Afghanistan as insurgent attacks rise

Parliamentary elections begin in Afghanistan as insurgent attacks rise

Following more than two years of delay, voters in Afghanistan are scheduled to finally elect a new parliament today. Those

Afghan women arrive at a voter registration centre to register for the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections in Kabul

Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail

Following more than two years of delay, voters in Afghanistan are scheduled to finally elect a new parliament today.

Those delays were brought by threats of violence amid the ongoing struggle between the government in Kabul, supported by the United States, and the Taliban insurgency. Indeed, the threats have continued, with an attack this Thursday killing three Afghan officials at an election security meeting with General Scott Miller, Washington’s top military commander in the country.

That attack could presage further violence at the polls today, with over a third of the 7000 voting sites having been closed due to the Taliban threat and ten candidates having been assassinated. However, Kabul and US forces insist the election will go forward, while the presence of over 2,500 candidates on the ballot—ten times the number of available seats—points to enthusiasm for the vote.

With preliminary results due by November 10,  it will take some time to know the political impact of the electoral outcome. But, a successfully administered election would give some confidence to the government’s ability to administer the country in the face of continuing bloodshed.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.