Millions of fraudulent votes were cast in last year’s Afghan presidential election, enough that a second round of voting was called for. It never happened, because the government never addressed the problems that led to the fraud and the opposition candidate pulled out.
A year later the parliamentary election looms, and according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the same problems are all still in place, and Saturday’s vote will likely have all the same fraud, the same bias officials, and the same ballot box stuffing as the last one did.
It has become almost a cliché for a report to say that the Afghan government is struggling with massive corruption and “long-term issues that will take years to address,” but there are few places where this problem has been more apparent than when the nation tries to hold an election.
This would be enough to put most people off seeing any sort of hope in this election, but it is only part of the problem. Human rights groups have been warning that the Afghan government has been unwilling or unable to predict election workers and candidates, and both the Taliban insurgency and the US-led occupation forces have launched attacks against campaign workers and caused casualties among candidates for parliament.
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