The Afghan presidential election takes place on April 5, and the campaign began in earnest today, under the threat of Taliban violence against candidates and their workers. Almost immediately, the first violence was seen.
Two campaign workers for Abdullah Abdullah were killed today in Herat. Abdullah was the second-place finisher in the previous election who backed out of a run-off with President Karzai amid his calls for electoral reform were spurned.
Violence in Kabul was already on the rise in anticipation of the election season, with embassy officials saying they are now at their highest level since 2008. The situation is expected to get even worse.
US officials have expressed hope that the next Afghan president will be more amenable to military occupation than Karzai is, and many believe they will have to wait for Karzai’s successor to sign off on the troop deal to keep US military forces in place “through 2024 and beyond.”
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