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Afghanistan: ‘My Best Weapon to Fight the Taliban is My Voter Card’

With less than a week before the first-ever democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan, violence across the country has increased dramatically with daily explosions and gunfights. Dozens have been killed in these assaults. Taliban insurgents have vowed to derail the presidential and provincial council elections on April 5 with bombings and assassinations. 

On March 29 Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) headquarters in Kabul was attacked by four Taliban militants. The insurgents were all gunned down. On March 28 the Roots of Peace guesthouse was stormed by the Taliban, resulting in a child's death. In another attack on Kabul's Serena Hotel March 21, nine people including an AFP journalist, Sardar Ahmad, and an election observer, were killed

Afghans continue to live out their normal lives in spite of ongoing concerns over the insurgent attacks. Syed Anwar tweeted after the attack on IEC headquarters:

Voting in the 2005 parliamentary elections was relatively untroubled. This time there is more at stake and the security environment is weaker. (Wikimedia commons)

Voting in the 2005 parliamentary elections was relatively untroubled. This time there is more at stake and the security environment is weaker. (Wikimedia commons)

 

Massood Sanjer's tweet reads:

LT. Mustafa Kazemi tweets quoting Sardar Ahmad's nephew:  

Lina Rozbih-Haidari, an Afghan journalist, outraged by Friday's guesthouse attack, posted on her official Facebook page:

When claiming responsibility for terrorist attacks, Taliban reason that they are targeting foreigners. While looking at pictures of today's incident, I saw these foreigners, including unarmed women and children, who mostly work for humanitarian organizations and live with their families in these guesthouses.

This is Taliban's jihad: targeting unarmed Afghan and foreign women and children in hotels, polling stations, bazars, schools, mosques, during praying, during work……..

Can wars be fought more cowardly than this? Indeed Afghanistan has fallen into the hands of a hypocrite, weak, immoral and irrational enemy. They call it Islam. Be brave enough and fight bravely! Not cowardly by killing innocent and defenseless women, men and children. 

While Emma Graham-Harrison, the Guardian correspondent for Afghanistan, tweeted after the assault on IEC headquarters:  

Worried about the Taliban's future targets, Marzia Faraz's tweets: 

Another angry tweet related to the attack on Serena Hotel: 

In the past, Afghan elections were characterized by a general lack of political awareness among the public. However, the 2014 campaign has seen a great difference – candidates are actively trying to reach out to citizens, traveling to different provinces in order to engage with a diverse, dispersed electorate. Posters of the candidates are all over the country and their televised debates were viewed live by millions of Afghans. Despite insecurity and definite possibilities of electoral fraud, Afghans are excited by the possibility of engaging in a genuinely competitive vote. Ahmad Shuja tweeted a photo which shows people waiting in a long line to get their voting cards. 

Afghan journalist, Farzad Lami, referring to the recent survey conducted by the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), tweeted: 

Lotfullah Najafizada's tweet quoted a first-time-voter: 

Marshal Öljaitü tweeted:  

Some candidates have also expressed their concerns about the insurgency attacks and the upcoming elections. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a presidential candidate, tweets:

A tweet from Abdul Rashid Dostum, a candidate for Vice President, claims that the coming election will be successful because Afghans have strong faith in it. 

While Zalmai Rassoul‘s campaign team posted on twitter, condemning the attacks: 

Afghanistan's lame duck incumbent Hamid Karzai refuses to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States until after the elections. So far, the domestic security situation makes an unpromising background for this crucial vote. Among the Taliban's most recent victims have been a candidate in the provincial elections, foreign NGO workers and staff at IEC offices across the country. 

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