Saturday, September 18, 2010

Afghan Election Today: Women Vote

Early reports are mixed, some promising:
In the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south, voters ventured out in small groups despite rocket strikes and bomb blasts. One bomb targeted the convoy of Gov. Tooryalai Wesa as it drove between voting centers but no one was injured, police officer Abdul Manan said.

Wesa still urged Kandaharis to come out and vote.

"There's nothing to be afraid of," he said. "The enemy wants the election to fail, so if you want the insurgents out of your land, you'll have to come out and vote."

Voters even lined up in the Zhari district, west of Kandahar city, where Taliban leader Mullah Omar's radical Islamic movement was born 16 years ago. Hundreds of Afghan and international troops secured the area.
And it appears some women are engaging in vote fraud:
"The women coming here have so many cards that don't have the stamp and are not real cards but still they are voting," said Nazreen, a monitor for the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, which has dispatched observers throughout the country.

Fake voter cards flooded into Afghanistan ahead of the balloting, but election officials had promised that poll workers were trained to spot them.

NATO'S senior civilian representative said some fraud was expected, and that it would not necessarily undermine the vote.

"The real issue is the scale of that and does it affect the result. And does it affect the credibility of the election, not in our eyes but in the eyes of the Afghan people," Mark Sedwill said.

P.S. Nina Burleigh in Huffpo: A Holy War on Women:
If anyone still doubted, or hadn't noticed, that misogyny is the fundamental pillar on which radical Islam is based, the news that poison gas was pumped into girls' schools in Afghanistan, likely by the Taliban, ought to confirm it.
I'm with you, Nina.

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