Candidates Begin Campaigning for Afghanistan's Presidential Elections
Despite threats from the Taliban to disrupt the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, campaigns for the first post-Taliban elections began today. A Taliban spokesman, Abdul Hakimi, stated that Taliban fighters would target all presidential candidates, parliamentary candidates running in April’s parliamentary elections, and anyone who voted, reports Reuter’s. In addition, the Taliban has been making recent efforts to impede the elections process, specifically targeting women. Members of the Taliban have been present at the registration polls and have threatened women as they approach to register.
Eighteen candidates are running for President of Afghanistan, including President Hamid Karzai and only one female candidate, Massooda Jalal. Jalal made a speech to women at a bakery subsidized by the United Nations, asserting that “those people who betrayed you and destroyed your homes and who killed your loves ones…have no place in my government,” reports the Associated Press.
While recent reports show that there are over 10 million people registered to vote in Afghanistan's October presidential elections, it has become evident that the election registration process is Afghanistan is seriously flawed. The United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission released a report stating that the most basic conditions for a democratic vote in Afghanistan are in danger of not being met, reports BBC News. The report states that this lack of information is making voters vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation, and that there are individuals who are brandishing two or more voting cards.