Just days after a report by Human Rights Watch detailing what a poor job the Afghan government was doing in securing the nation ahead of Saturday’s parliamentary vote, the office of President Hamid Karzai came out to laud their preparedness.
“According to a joint plan with international forces, Afghan security forces are completely prepared to secure the election and polling centres,” the statement insisted, adding that Karzai had told security officials to use “everything at their disposal” to secure the vote.
But threats against candidates, particularly women, are on the rise, and at least one candidate has been killed in an attack. A number of election workers have also been slain, and even NATO troops have killed some, with a missile strike against an election convoy killing at least 10 and wounding a candidate.
US officials have downplayed expectations for the vote, predicting that it will be marred by much the same fraud we saw last year, that continues to leave the Karzai’s legitimacy very much in doubt. Karzai won a first round of voting on the basis of millions of phantom votes and won by default in the second round when his opponent gave up in protest over Karzai’s unwillingness to tackle corruption in the election commissions.
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