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Elections 2014: Election day blog

Afghanistan Today journalists
More than 23,000 polling stations have opened across Afghanistan as voters return to the polls for the second time this year to elect a new president. Former finance minister and Mujahedin leader Abdullah Abdullah…
14.06.2014  |  Various Afghan provinces

 

A queue of voters outside a poling station in the Kala-e Kaship area of Kabul. Early signs show that the turnout in the second and final round vote could be as high as in the first round of voting on April 5, when nearly seven million Afghans went to the polls to elect Karzai's successor.  

(Photo: Khalil Rahman Omaid)

Afghan National Security Forces perform a security check on a voter at a literacy college transformed into a polling centre in Kabul. The government has reinforced security across the country after a spate of incidents in the last two weeks, including an attack on Abullah Abdullah, one of the two candidates contesting the presidential run-off, which killed 12 people according to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. "We hope our security measures will be even better than the last election," General Sher Mohammad Karimi, the army's chief of staff, told reporters in Kabul on Friday, June 13.  Nearly 400,000 security personnel are on alert as part of the government's extensive safety precautions. 

(Photo: Waheed Orya)

Despite the tense situation, this soldier in Mazar-e Sharif still found time to cast his vote. (Photo Asghar Noor Mohammad)

"More than 40 per cent of polling stations (9,324) are reserved exclusively for women and are equipped with female election and security staff," said the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) in a statement this week. Pictured are a group of female voters in Herat shortly after polls opened this morning at 7am. (Photo: Storay Karimi)

Flash floods struck areas in the north earlier this week, affecting access to certain poll centres. Pictured is a man voting in the capital of Badakhshan Province, Faizabad. (Photo: Khushqadam Usmani)

Despite the reinforced security, there have been reports of incidents in the provinces of Nangarhar, Laghman and Ghazni. A rocket attack in Laghman Province killed four civilians according to the province's governor, reports Tolo News. Security personnel have been injured in clashes with anti-government insurgents in Ghazni and in Nangarhar, a group of voters were attacked exiting a poll station, leaving three injured, according to the the Moby Group publisher. (Photo: Rahmat Alizada)

A climate of tension  continues to envelop a limited number of poll centres where insurgents have struck, but a joyous atmosphere consumed voters outside this poll station in Gardez City in Paktia. (Photo: Haqmal Masoodzai)

The situation in Mazar-e Sharif, Balkh Province, has been relatively peaceful. Early reports suggest large amounts of women voters have once again braved the threats of insurgents to safeguard Afghan democracy and cast their vote. Pictured is an elderly lady holding her voting card at a high school in Mazar-e Sharif. (Photo: Asghar Noor Mohammad)

According to media reports, 6,204 is the latest number of confirmed open poll centres across the country. In Kandarhar, where residents are pictured here queing to cast their vote, shortages of ballot papers have been reported, although the IEC says it has restocked the affected sites. (Photo: Nang Durrani)

Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor and other parliamentarians address the press shortly after casting their votes in Mazar-e Sharif. (Photo: Asghar Noor Mohammad)

Whoever wins the election will face difficult challenges once in office. An ongoing war with the Taliban, a difficult relationship with Pakistan and an aid-dependant economy all need urgently addressing. In the above video - exclusive to Afghanistan Today - Fareedoone Aryan of Afghan Media Productions talks to Kabul residents about the idiosyncrasies of Afghan democracy.

A man casts his vote at a polling station in the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque in Kabul. Additional ballot papers have been sent to 333 polling centres across the country, according to IEC head Yousef Nouristani, reports TOLONews. (Photo: Waheed Orya)

 

There have been rocket attacks outside poll stations in the eastern province of Kunar and in volatile southern Helmand Province, according to fresh media reports. In western Herat  things have been largely peaceful. (Photo: Storay Karimi)

Nangarhar governor says many poll centres ran out of ballot papers by 12 noon. Shortages of voting material have also been reported widely at poll stations in Kandahar, Kunar and other provinces. Above Ghazni residents queue to vote. (Photo: Rahmat Alizada)

Afghan Interior Minister Omar Daudzai tells TOLONews that there have been 150 attacks by 2pm Kabul time today.

A sketch by resident Afghanistan Today cartoonist Uzra Shamal.

Voting closed at 4pm Kabul time. The  Independent Election Commission says there will be no extension, only those in queues by 4pm will be able to vote. IEC head Nouristani to address the press at 7pm. (Photo: Storay Karimi)

IEC officials counting votes after 4pm today at a high school poll centre in Mazar-e Sharif. (Photo: Asghar Noor Mohammad)

CONCLUSION

As the final votes were cast across Afghanistan in the second round run-off vote to decide whether Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani would be Afghanistan’s next leader, the plaudits for another successful exercise in democratic participation began to rain in from different sources.

The incumbent, President Karzai, talked of “a strong nation” having defeated its enemies. “We took this big step while the enemies of Afghanistan tried to disrupt the elections,” said Karzai in a statement. Attacks had earlier been reported by the media and local politicians throughout the day in various provinces.

At least four people were killed walking out of a polling centre in Nangarhar. Rockets were fired at polling stations in Kunar, Laghman Province and Khost, among other incidents. Omar Daudzai, minister of interior affairs, told channel 1TV that a total of 150 attacks were carried out before 1pm Kabul time alone. Deputy Interior Minister Salangi, talking on TOLONews, said 14 civilians were killed and 41 injured by attacks around the country by anti-government forces.

The head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC),Yousuf Nouristani, said that more than 7 million Afghans voted, confirming that turnout was higher than in the first round. At least 37 per cent of voters were female, up from 36 per cent in the first round.

Nouristani hailed the election as a success, despite the Election Complaint Commission (ECC) so far receiving over 250 complaints of fraud. Shortages of ballot papers were also reported in various provinces – including Nangarhar and Kandahar – from noon onwards.

Karzai praised the role of the security services in minimalizing the damage of insurgent attacks. “We took this big step while our police, army and intelligence forces sacrificed their lives to protect their people and land," said the president.

Face of democracy? An 80-year-old man casts his vote in Kabul. (Photo: Sediq Zaliq)


As the final votes were cast across Afghanistan in the second round run-off vote to decide whether Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani would be Afghanistan’s next leader, the plaudits for another successful exercise in democratic participation begin to rein from different sources.

The incumbent, President Karzai, talked of “a strong nation” having defeated its enemies. “We took this big step while the enemies of Afghanistan tried to disrupt the elections,” said Karzai in a statement. Attacks had earlier been reported by the media and local politicians throughout the day in various provinces. A least four people were killed walking out of a polling centre in Nangarhar. Rockets were fired at polling stations in Kunar, Laghman Province and Khost, among other incidents. Umar Daudzai, minister of interior affairs, told channel 1TV that a total of 150 attacks were carried before 1pm Kabul time alone. Deputy Interior Minister Salangi, talking on TOLONews, said 14 civilians were killed and 41 injured by attacks around the country by anti-government forces.

The Independent Election Commission’s head Yousuf Nouristani said more than 7 million Afghans voted, confirming that turnout was higher than in the first round. At least 37 per cent of voters were female, up from 36 per cent in the first round.

Nouristani hailed the election as a success, despite the Election Complaint Commission (ECC) so far receiving over 250 complaints of fraud. Shortages of ballot papers were also reported in various provinces – including Nangarhar and Kandahar – from noon onwards.

Karzai praised the role of the security services in minimalizing the damage of insurgent attacks. “We took this big step while our police, army and intelligence forces sacrificed their lives to protect their people and land.”