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Afghans Survive Severed Fingers to Cast Second Round Votes
Written by Samea Shanori On 16 June 2014 @ 11:46 am | No Comments
In Afghanistan, Central Asia & Caucasus, Citizen Media, Elections, English, Farsi, Governance, Politics
Seven million Afghans went to polling stations on Saturday according to the Independent Election Commission to elect Hamid Karzai's presidential successor in a run-off vote that will determine the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's history. Nearly 40 percent of the voters were  women.
Approximately 18 Afghan soldiers and 76 civilians were reported  murdered during the vote and more than ten people reported that their fingers were chopped off  by the Taliban to discourage them from casting votes.
It didn't appear to work. Ahmad Shuja, a Human Rights Watch research associate, described the people's determination to vote:
Taliban tried to rock Kabul with rockets, an earthquake rocked it when polls started, but voters are rocking it hardest. #AfghanElections 
— Ahmad Shuja احمدشجاع (@AhmadShuja) June 14, 2014 
Preliminary results expected  by July 2 will point to whether Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani becomes the next head of state. Full results will appear on July 22. An Afghan journalist, Farzad Lami, expressed the importance of the occasion in a pertinent tweet:
— Farzad Lami (@FarzadLameh) June 14, 2014 
Concerns over the country's long-term future remain. Asia Society's Afghanistan fellow Ramin Anwari wrote:
— Ramin Anwari (@raminanwari) June 16, 2014 
Voice of America journalist Zheela Jan quoted one of the voters whose finger was cut reportedly by the Taliban:
— zheela-jan (@ZheelaJ) June 15, 2014 
Afghanistan is facing many challenges – the security threat from the Taliban, a basket-case economy, weak law enforcement and endemic corruption , to name a few. However, following months of campaigning and a great turnout in the first and second round of elections it is clear Afghans are determined to move ahead despite these challenges.
Electoral fraud remains a major issue, and some media have already expressed doubt  over the IEC's claim of a 7 million turnout. Moreover, IEC Secretariat Chief Zia-ul-Haq Amarkahil's staff were caught  with unused ballots trying to leave the IEC headquarters. A committee has been formed to investigate the matter. Amarkhail, accused of using the ballots in favor of a specific candidate, denied all allegations and claimed he is being framed.
During a press conference after the election day, candidate Abdullah demanded an investigation into the matter, threatening not to accept  the results of the elections unless one took place. Candidate Ghani also expressed his concern over fraud and requested an investigation via Twitter:
We want both IEC and ECC to take fraud seriously .. and investigate it – Dr. Ghani
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) June 14, 2014 
Ghani's team had previously asked voters to contact them in case fraud was seen or suspected.
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) June 14, 2014 
Attacks and clashes occurred between the supporters of the two running teams. According to local media, Ghani's supporters were beaten up  by Abdullah's supporters. But a tweet from Abdullah Abdullah's Twitter account suggested Ghani's men were the aggressors [fa]:
اعمال خشونت و لت و كوب ناظرين ما توسط هواخواهان تيم اخير كاملاً يك عمل غير اخلاقى و مخالف موازين و اصول انتخاباتى است!
— Abdullah Abdullah (@AfgPresident) June 14, 2014 
Violent attacks on our election observers by the opposing team is not only an immoral act, but also against the rules and regulations of the elections.
By July 22, the results will be in. It will be up to the two remaining candidates to decide whether they respect or contest them .
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/06/16/afghans-survive-severed-fingers-to-cast-second-round-votes/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Independent_Election_Commission_of_Afghanistan.jpg
 were: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27844674
 were reported: http://www.khaama.com/18-soldiers-39-civilians-146-militants-killed-during-runoff-vote-day-6186
 were chopped off: https://twitter.com/euamiri/status/478103471657607168/photo/1
 #AfghanElections: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AfghanElections&src=hash
 June 14, 2014: https://twitter.com/AhmadShuja/statuses/477699324336701440
 #Afghanistan: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Afghanistan&src=hash
 June 14, 2014: https://twitter.com/FarzadLameh/statuses/477699815607115777
 #election: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23election&src=hash
 June 16, 2014: https://twitter.com/raminanwari/statuses/478413545629966336
 #AfghanElectionsIn: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AfghanElectionsIn&src=hash
 @ashnatv: https://twitter.com/ashnatv
 https://t.co/L6HP7IBtVy: https://t.co/L6HP7IBtVy
 June 15, 2014: https://twitter.com/ZheelaJ/statuses/478201868175564800
 endemic corruption: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/12/14/most-corrupt-country-award-goes-to-afghanistan/
 expressed doubt: http://www.rferl.org/content/afghan-election-doubts-cast-over-high-turnout/25422919.html
 were caught: http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15261-committee-formed-to-investigate-amarkhail-fraud-allegations
 denied : http://www.khaama.com/abdullah-urges-to-suspend-iecc-chief-ziaulhaq-amarkhil-6187
 not to accept: http://www.tolonews.com/en/afghanistan/15265-abdullah-demands-amarkhails-suspension
 June 14, 2014: https://twitter.com/ashrafghani/statuses/477857182743265280
 pic.twitter.com/d1rujdPiM4: http://t.co/d1rujdPiM4
 June 14, 2014: https://twitter.com/ashrafghani/statuses/477778110700879872
 were beaten up: http://www.khaama.com/more-attacks-reported-by-abdullah-backers-on-ghanis-supporters-6188
 June 14, 2014: https://twitter.com/AfgPresident/statuses/477747164236767232
 whether they respect or contest them: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/04/05/the-possible-post-electoral-shocks-in-afghanistan/
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