Afghan officials are continuing to insist that the polls for tomorrow’s election are safe and that “there won’t be any problems,” but the claims are ringing increasingly hollow today as the Taliban appears to have kidnapped as many as 30 campaign workers, a number of members of the Independent Election Commission and even two candidates for parliament.
Local Taliban commanders took credit for the kidnappings and said they intended to try the officials in a Taliban court for their crimes against the insurgency. Taliban officials have also pledged a number of large attacks against polling sites.
The two kidnapped candidates come on top of a multi-week spate of violence against people involved in the election, which has left at least four candidates and 20 of their supporters killed. NATO was responsible for killing a large number of the campaign workers in an air strike, and also wounded a candidate.
Even if the election passes with relatively little violence, there seems to be little optimism that the vote will be seen as credible. After massive fraud in last year’s presidential election, the Karzai government has made virtually no changes, except to weaken international oversight of the process.