Afghanistan elections, Afghanistan Presidential elections,
Afghan elections, Karzai
Dima Gavrysh/AP Photo
A worker counts ballots at a mosque-turned polling station in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 21, 2009.

Amid Some Violence, Afghan Elections Completed

August 21, 2009 02:17 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
In the aftermath of the mostly peaceful Afghan elections, reports are swirling as to who will be named president.

Speculation Abounds Following Voting

Both frontrunners in the Afghan presidential elections, Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, are already claiming victory, according to The Guardian, but "preliminary results are not due until 3 September, with the final certified results coming in two weeks later."

The United States has encouraged candidates to refrain from post-election speculation, but the Pajhwok news agency in Afghanistan has begun aggregating polling centers' unofficial results. Karzai and Abdullah are tied, says Pajhwok, with the incumbent Karzai taking most votes in provinces north of Kabul, and Abdullah leading in southern and eastern areas.

According to The Associated Press, "[a]t least 26 people were killed in election-related violence," and only 40 to 50 percent of the 15 million registered Afghan voters turned out, compared with 70 percent for the 2004 presidential elections.

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Mostly Peaceful Day

But the day was mostly peaceful, and Karzai praised voters for braving the polls despite Taliban threats, according to the BBC. The United Nations said most polling stations functioned without violent interference; however, interior ministry reports said 73 attacks occurred in 15 Afghan provinces, and certain districts in Jalalabad saw no voter turnout due to Taliban intimidation.

The day did not escape allegations of fraud, however. Ramazan Bashardost called the voting process "a comedy," claiming that the ink marking voters' fingers could be washed off, reported the BBC.

The Los Angeles Times furnishes a photo slideshow of Afghan voters heading to the polls on August 20. There was less voter turnout in the early morning "amid fears of violence by militants," prompting officials to extend "the voting time by one hour" later in the day, reported the LA Times.

Background: Taliban threatened violence

Britain's Channel 4 provides video footage taken around the country, including in Kabul and inside a bank where police faced off with insurgents, prior to the elections. In an informal interview with members of the Taliban, a British journalist watches a stack of presidential candidates' posters being set aflame by the militants.

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